Sports With Shook: Archer made the right move

Nick Shook

Nick Shook is a junior news major and sports columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

To leave, or not to leave.

That was the question Kent State junior Dri Archer was left to ponder last week.

After a heartbreaking 17-13 loss to Arkansas State in the Bowl, Archer was undecided on his football future.

The all-purpose back had just finished a season for the books, both figuratively and literally. Just take one look at his profile on the athletic department’s website: named to Associated Press, Walter Camp, and Sporting News All-American Teams. Named a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award. Set a single-season record at Kent State for touchdowns in a season with 22. Named to First Team All-MAC. Named MAC Special teams Player of the Year.

But with success comes attention and in college football, discussions about professional potential usually follow.

Archer’s speed is among the top in the nation. That alone would make him a hot target for NFL teams.

I unsuccessfully attempted to start a movement early in the 2012 season via Twitter (and tried to rile some people up, because I tend to enjoy doing that) by declaring Archer was faster than Oregon’s DeAnthony Thomas, who is widely regarded as the fastest player in college football. I said then and I will say it again now: put Archer on a team with Oregon’s visibility and he becomes a household name in college football.

Former Kent State tailback Eugene Jarvis even vouched for Archer’s speed via Twitter, tweeting “4.28 Dri Archer…you heard it…I actually seen it” in reference to Archer’s 40-yard dash time.

Thomas’ 40 time?


I had quite a few people vote in favor of Archer when I took an impromptu Twitter poll. He even retweeted my question for me (thanks, Dri), which added more than a few votes. But it didn’t reach those loyal Ducks fans (I think those exist, outside of the front runners who joined just because they have impressive uniforms and run no huddle offense until their opponent crawls to the locker room, crying for the oxygen mask).

I still want to see the two in a winner-take-all race. This is something ESPN can arrange – or maybe TV2, if we could get Thomas to come to Kent. Someone get Nike president (and Oregon mega-booster) Phil Knight on the line.

Before the 2012 season, the redshirt junior from Laurel, Fla. was the best-kept secret in Kent, Ohio. By the middle of the season, his video was featured on, Deadspin, etc. Everyone quickly started to discover Dri Archer, all-purpose star of Kent State.

Archer’s newfound fame understandably led him to consider forgoing his senior season to instead enter the 2013 NFL Draft. But there were many factors that likely led Archer to decide to stay in Kent for the 2013 season.

Archer is not done with his schooling yet, and graduating with a college degree is something that is very important to him. Now-departed head coach Darrell Hazell and Archer became close during Hazell’s time at Kent State, and Archer’s success both on the field and in the classroom was important to both of them.

He is listed as a senior integrative studies major, and missed the 2011 season due to a clerical error which resulted in him being one credit short of the eligible minimum.

So, Archer has already paid a price to continue his education. Coming this far and then ditching it for a professional chance, not a guarantee, would not seem wise to most.

I’m not a betting man, but I’d also be willing to bet Archer isn’t exactly comfortable with how he ended his season – on the sidelines.

Archer suffered a knee bruise that kept him from performing at his highest level, and since he felt he was hurting his team, he did not participate in the Flashes’ final drive of the season. Senior quarterback Spencer Keith ultimately came up about four yards short on a fourth down attempt late in the game with KSU trailing 17-13, and all Archer could do was watch from the sidelines with a towel over his head.

I’m a former player and if Archer is anywhere near the competitive level of most football players, (seeing as he is playing Division I football, I’m going to say he is at or beyond that level) it likely drove him insane that he couldn’t participate at the end of that game.

And it’s also likely that it has only intensified he and his teammates’ hunger for a 2013 MAC Championship.

So why leave Kent, and another chance at making school history in 2013 under new head coach Paul Haynes, for a professional chance?

You can claim injury risks, the fact that his stock may not get any higher, and the departure of Hazell as reasons for leaving.

But you can’t get your college years back.

You made the right decision, Dri.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected]. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickShookDKS, and be sure to tune into Black Squirrel Radio’s top-rated sports show, “Sports With Shook,” on Fridays from 2-4 p.m. Follow the show @SportsWithShook.