LITTLE ROCK - Michael Dyer showed once again Tuesday night what all the fuss is about.
But this night in War Memorial Stadium turned out to be as much about the state’s top-ranked 2010 recruit and his defense at the very end as it was his offense throughout the rest of the game.
Dyer rushed for 187 yards and 4 touchdowns, but also made a touchdown-saving tackle on the game’s final possession as Little Rock Christian downed Pulaski Oak Grove 28-22 in the final of four Buzz 103.7/Arkansas 360 Kickoff Classic games.
It was actually one of his five tackles in limited defensive action – and one of three on the final drive that ended with Pulaski Oak Grove at the 2-yard line.
“I was just going out there and playing and just trying to do my part on the team and do what they ask me to do,” Dyer said. “Sometimes I get to go in and play defense and hit a few people – which I like. It’s a good thing.”
Little Rock Christian fell behind 22-13 with 1:48 left in the third quarter when Pulaski Oak Grove sophomore Eric Parks scored on a 7-yard run.
But after a 52-yard kickoff return by Tyler Bass, Dyer simply took over.
He covered the remaining 25 yards in the next three plays, capping that series with a 9-yard TD run that combined with the PAT to cut it to 22-20 with 38 seconds left in the third quarter.
Dyer would carry 5 times for 36 yards on the Warriors’ next possession and gave his team a 28-22 lead when he bulled in from 3 yards out with 7:38 left in the game.
It was clear he was happy to be playing injury free after battling two ankle problems down the stretch in 2008.
“It felt great,” Dyer said. “I am glad to be back (healthy), get my legs wet and little cuts and just getting used to going again.”
Pulaski Oak Grove would have one last chance to win the game after taking over at its own 20 with 3:10 left in the game.
When Deramus Sam hit Shaquille Spearmon with a screen pass, it looked for a second like Spearmon might take it the distance.
But Dyer suddenly appeared and hauled down Spearmon after a 41-yard gain to the Warriors’ 24.
“I wasn’t worried,” Little Rock Christian’s Dakota Mosley said. “When I saw Michael running, I knew he was going to catch him.”
Dyer was also in on two more tackles on that final drive, including teaming with Mosley to stuff a run at the 5.
The final play was Sam rushing for 3 yards, but coming up two yards short as time ran out.
“Our defense just really stood up big there at the end of the game,” Mosley said.
Dyer left the field carrying a sign that three Auburn fans brought for him that said something to effect that "Auburn was in Dyer need."
When that sign was shown on the big screen at War Memorial on Tuesday, it drew a few boos as one might expect.
Dyer had tabbed Auburn as his “top one” in a TV interview before the game.
While some took it as a commitment to Auburn, he quickly cleared up any confusion after the game.
“My process right now, I have a good couple of lists up and me and my uncle are just going through it making decisions based off how I feel about schools,” Dyer said. “There are a couple of schools that I feel really highly and some that I don't. Auburn is one of those schools that I really enjoy.”
As far as a timetable, he would like for it to be sooner rather than later, but wants to be sure.
“I feel like a couple more visits to a couple of schools and then try to get it out of the way as soon as possible,” Dyer said. “If not, I will just continue to go on with the recruiting process.”
The schools he might visit?
“Tennessee, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Auburn and probably going to get up to Florida,” Dyer said. “That will probably be the only stops I will make and then there will be a decision made.”
Looming in the background of his recruiting is his friendship with Mosley (6-5, 255), who has offers from Tennessee, Auburn, Tulsa and Louisiana Tech.
He got calls from Auburn assistant Gus Malzahn and Tennessee assistant Ed Orgeron on Tuesday – the first day colleges could legally call since the spring.
“Really I am just still talking to coaches,” Mosley said. “Some called me today and visited a little bit. I am still just evaluating and going from there.”
Mosley had 6 tackles whlle lining up at defensive end caught 1 pass for 5 yards from his tight end spot.
Mosley remains interested in Arkansas, but the Razorbacks have not offered a scholarship to this point.
“I really haven’t heard much from them,” Mosley said, “but if they were to want to talk to me I would still be pretty interested in them being as it is my home state and I have always liked the Razorbacks.”
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In Tuesday’s earlier game, Watson Chapel downed Warren 34-20.
Chapel senior quarterback C.J. Branch (6-2, 230) was named the MVP after rushing 16 times for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns and also completing 4-of-6 passes for 109 yards and another score.
Nicholas Vanderbilt also was a key for the Wildcats with 14 carries for 130 yards and a TD.
Warren was led by senior wideout Raheim Alford (9 catches, 145 yards, TD), sophomore receiver Jalen Cobb (8 catches, 76 yards) and junior wideout Allen Tatum (7 catches, 104 yards).
Lumberjacks senior quarterback Hayden Smith was 26-for-45 for 332 yards with a pair of touchdowns and a pair of picks.
Senior linebacker Antonio Harding (6-1, 212), who has drawn interest from Arkansas, had two tackles and forced a fumble.
Tulsa commit Eldon Thompson had 8 tackles.