Michael Dyer will have to follow a strict code of conduct playing for Louisville.
Cardinals coach Charlie Strong said Monday that the former Auburn running back must sign a behavior contract and be subject to a zero-tolerance policy as conditions of joining the program.
Dyer rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his two seasons at Auburn but was dismissed and transferred to Arkansas State, where he never played after a March 2012 traffic stop for speeding that also revealed a gun and drugs in his car. He wasn’t charged with a crime.
Strong said his program’s core values don’t include doing drugs or carrying guns, but people deserve second chances.
”I can’t change his past, but only hope to help build on his future,” Strong said.
Strong said that Arkansas Baptist College President Fitz Hill, a former football coach at San Jose State, reached out to him on Dyer’s behalf. The two Arkansas natives had ”a lot of conversations,” Strong said. The Cardinals coach also spoke to first-year Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, who praised Dyer, before feeling comfortable with the thought of bringing him to Louisville.
Malzahn, then Auburn’s offensive coordinator, recruited Dyer for the Tigers. When Malzahn took the head coaching job at Arkansas State, he recruited him again after Dyer’s dismissal from Auburn.
Dyer visited Louisville on July 20 and met with some of the team’s leaders. Strong gauged their reaction to their potential new teammate afterward.
”For me, it took a while to just really put it all together,” Strong said. ”I didn’t want to bring a young man into this program with what we already have built and be afraid that’s he’s going to tear that down. But I’m not worried about that.”
Dyer has also met with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich but not with university President, James Ramsey.
”I think Dr. Ramsey has enough confidence in Tom and myself to make sure that we can make the right choices,” Strong said. ”We’re not going to bring someone into this program where we embarrass this university.”
Strong said details of the contract are between him and Dyer, adding that he writes a contract with any player who has prior conduct issues.
The coach said Dyer told him that he wanted to clear his name and show people what type of person he really is – so Strong challenged him to take advantage of the opportunity.
”I didn’t think that he was just a bad person,” Strong said after meeting Dyer. ”If I had thought that I never would have brought him here. But I just said, here’s a young man that I feel like we can change and maybe help.”
Strong called Dyer a player with outstanding ability. He could bolster a Louisville running game whose top two backs are recovering from knee injuries.
Top returning rusher Senorise Perry enters his senior season after tearing the right anterior cruciate last November against Syracuse. He is not 100% but will be available when the Cardinals begin practice Tuesday.
Dominique Brown, Louisville’s second-leading rusher in 2011, redshirted last season but returns this fall.