Blazing A Trail

He was the fastest player on the field at West Virginia's rising senior football camp, and he might be just as quick to accept an offer to play for the Mountaineers.

Cincinnati native Richie Dyer laid down a blazing 4.39 40-yard dash on what's generally considered a slow surface at Mountaineer Field, but that wasn't a surprise to the quick running back. Dyer has actually run as fast as 4.32 in timed 40-yard dashes this year, so recording a sub-4.4 time isn't a big deal – at least to him.

"I've been catching a lot of coaches' eyes with my speed," the pleasant, well-spoken Dyer said following WVU's camp. "I ran a 4.37 at Kentucky and a 4.32 at Marshall."

Dyer, a shifty runner who also has some power to go with his speed, has been hitting the camp circuit hard this summer to gain attention. In addition to UK and MU, he has also been to Ohio and Cincinnati, and plans a trip to Ohio State to round out his camp itinerary. He has an offer from Ohio, and hopes to add more following his summer performance. There's one school, however, that stands out for him.

"I love West Virginia," he said with enthusiasm. "I've always wanted to go there. This was my first visit, and I was really happy that I got the chance to show my ability. I love the coaching staff, and the facilities were really nice."

Dyer added that running backs coach Chris Beatty spoke with him after camp, and told him that he liked the speed and quickness he displayed.

"I think I did pretty well in one on ones," Dyer said "I caught the ball well and came off the ball well. There's always pressure to perform when you are on the field, but I think I deal with that well. Competition gets me fired up; I get a rush from it."

One thing that might be holding an offer up is a potential position change for Dyer. He noted that most of the schools that are recruiting him are looking at him as a cornerback, and he doesn't have a great deal of experience there. He played some defensive back during practice for Moeller High School in Cincinnati, but a loaded roster at the perennial Ohio power kept him from playing both ways. He held down a running back position last year as a junior, thus doesn't have any game film to show potential recruiters.

That could change this year, as Dyer transferred to Fork Union Military Academy in January. He believes he will play both ways at FUMA during his senior season. That would give WVU and other schools in the hunt the chance to observe him as a defender.

"Coach Beatty said he wanted to talk to Coach Sullivan [at Fork Union]," Dyer said. Coach Sullivan has me at running back, but I think I will go at both ways for them."

Dyer is just learning the fundamentals of playing defensive back.

"I am just trying to get the hang of it right now. It's much different, because you are running backwards. But if that's where I am going to play, then I need to work on it. I will play wherever coaches want me to play – it doesn't matter to me."

Dyer also thinks the structure of a military academy has helped him in other ways.

"It has has helped me out a lot with grades and the SAT," he said. "It's not really as big a deal as some people think, but it really helped me mature. I think I have grown up a lot as a person."

With some time and exposure as a defensive back to go with his solid offensive video, Dyer thinks more offers will be coming during his senior season. But there's one offer he's really hoping for.

"Right now West Virginia would be my top choice if they offered. I like Cincinnati and Kentucky too. But I've followed West Virginia for a while, and I really liked my trip there."

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