Last season, Florida State won a national championship, while its leader in takeaways (Nate Andrews), yards per carry (Karlos Williams) and yards per touch (Kermit Whitfield) combined to start just one game. In the current landscape of college football, talent at the top is crucial, but depth is often what separates the best teams. With that in mind, we’re counting down the ACC’s best backups — players who weren’t starters last year and aren't currently penciled in atop the depth chart, but who could make a major impact in 2014.
No. 2: Michael Dyer (Louisville, RB/Sr.)
Career numbers: 468 carries for 2,558 yards and 17 TDs; career 5.5 yards per carry average.
Projected role in 2014: Backup to Dominique Brown. The Cardinals are deep at running back, with Brown, Dyer, Corvin Lamb and Brandon Radcliff returning -- along with the addition of freshman L.J. Scott, who had an outstanding spring. Though coach Bobby Petrino has said he wants Brown to get 20-25 carries a game, the depth here will help the Cards. Especially since Petrino is known for getting multiple backs involved in the offense. In three previous head coaching stops, Petrino has had two backs with over 100 carries five times. During his first run at Louisville, Petrino had three backs with 75 or more carries three out of his four seasons. There is ample opportunity for the ball to go around, especially with the skill and versatility at the position.
Why he’ll make an impact: Dyer has the potential to be a star, based on his talent alone. As a freshman at Auburn, he set the school's freshman rushing record with 1,093 yards and was selected Offensive MVP of the 2011 BCS National Championship after rushing for 143 yards in the win over Oregon. He followed that with another 1,000-yard season as a sophomore, but Dyer could not stay out of trouble off the field. He was suspended indefinitely for failed drug tests before the bowl game and decided to transfer. After stops at Arkansas State and Arkansas Baptist, he arrived at Louisville last season. But injuries slowed him down and he only played in eight games, rushing 44 times for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Dyer is now completely healthy, and the hope is that he can return to the dazzling form he displayed in the first two seasons of his career. He showed that potential in the spring game, rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries playing for both the Red and White teams. If he does, the Louisville offense will be even more difficult to defend.