What has been rumored since Michael Dyer was suspended for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl has finally been confirmed. Michael Dyer will transfer to Arkansas State to be reunited with his former Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn. Dyer will have to sit out next year but will have two years of eligibility remaining in 2013. Some have speculated that he might never take the field for the Red Wolves and instead might declare for the NFL draft after sitting out next season. That's a long way away but it does seem a real possibility.
So where does this leave Auburn? Auburn will definitely have a different feel next year. Both coordinators, Gus Malzahn and Ted Roof, are gone. Auburn has made a solid hire on the defensive side of the football by hiring Brian Van Gorder. This is clearly an upgrade over Roof. Auburn is yet to make it's OC hire and it will be an important one as Chizik made his bones on defense.
Auburn's RB corps takes a big hit with the loss of Dyer. Dyer was Scout.com's #2 rated overall RB in his class and he paid immediate dividends for Auburn. In his freshman season, Dyer rushed for almost 1100 yards and was one of the keys to beating Oregon in their National Championship victory. This year Dyer took on more of a workload and ran for over 1200 yards (in two less games than 2010) and 10 TDs. Without Dyer, Auburn would not have beaten South Carolina. Dyer was a workhorse in that game carrying the ball a Marcus Lattimore-like 41 times. Next season, the Tigers will first turn to rising Senior Onterio McCalebb. McCalebb rushed for 641 yards on the year with 109 of those coming against Virginia in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Outside of McCalebb, they've got speedy rising soph Tre Mason (who ran for 64 yards in the bowl game) and right now they've got a 4-star commit out of Memphis named Jovon Robinson who could contribute next season.
One thing is for sure, the SEC West is going to be very interesting next season. Alabama returns to defend their National Championship. LSU will be out for revenge after getting embarrassed by Alabama in the NCG. Bobby Petrino will have Knile Davis back and has a new DC as the Hogs will try to take the next step. Kevin Sumlin is bringing the Aggies into the fold. Dan Mullen will try to get his Bulldogs back on track. Hugh Freeze will start his re-building of Ole Miss with his fast-paced offense and Auburn will try to build on this season and get back into the SEC Title race with new coordinators on both sides of the football. It's going to be fun...