Saturday’s Auburn win over Samford was another huge game for running back Michael Dyer. The star sophomore totaled 157 yards rushing and moved into 10th on Auburn’s career list with 2,287 yards over his first 25 games.
Dyer now needs 140 yards over the last two games of the season to pass Stacy Danley to move into eighth place in the Auburn record books. Next up is current Philadelphia Eagle Ronnie Brown, who is 420 yards ahead of Dyer.
Dyer’s performance this season has exceeded expectations, as many expected him to have a tougher time in 2011 with Cam Newton no longer around to distract defenses. Dyer has put himself in elite company, becoming only the fifth Auburn back to run for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. The other four (Joe Cribbs, James Brooks, Stephen Davis and Cadillac Williams) went on to have successful NFL careers.
Looking ahead to the rest of Dyer’s career, the question is whether he will be able to catch Bo Jackson and become Auburn’s leading rusher. One of the greatest college football players of all time, Jackson finished his career with 4,303 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns.
At his current pace, Dyer would smash Jackson’s yardage record if he stays healthy and sticks around the Plains for all four years of his eligibility. He enters the final two games of his sophomore year 2,016 yards behind Jackson, which is very reachable for someone who already has two 1,000 yard seasons.
Dyer would need to up his pace to catch Jackson’s touchdown record, as he has 15 with two games left in 2011. With a bigger workload in 2012, Dyer also could take aim at Jackson’s single-season rushing record of 1,786 yards.
The x-factor here is whether Dyer opts to enter the NFL Draft after next season. NFL Draft Scout has Dyer rated as the No. 2 running back among his class. With his combination of power and speed, Dyer should have plenty of NFL teams interested if he decided to come out early.
Whatever happens over the next two seasons, Dyer’s 2011 season has shown that he is no one-year wonder. The running back from Little Rock has stamped himself as the latest in a long line in Auburn’s storied tradition of running backs. It should only be a matter of time until he becomes the next ball-carrier to represent Auburn in the NFL.