Reinhardt will have its first alumni in the professional football ranks after Javier Dyer signed with the Salt Lake Stallions earlier this month.
Dyer was a standout defensive end for the Eagles from 2014-17. He has served as a defensive line coach and graduate assistant this season, but he always knew his goal was to play professionally.
So he jumped at the chance to join the upstart Alliance of American Football league that will begin play in the spring of 2019.
“I always wanted to go pro,” Dyer said. “After my senior season, I started hired an agent and started going to tryouts. I knew what I wanted to do. I just tried to keep myself in shape, working out and trying to get my body ready.”
Though Dyer knew what he wanted to do, but after attending pro day at Kennesaw State and four Canadian Football League tryouts, he realized his dream would not be easy to chase.
He finished his all-conference career with 28 sacks and trips to the national semifinal and championship in his last two seasons, but coming from a relatively unknown NAIA program had its setbacks.
“It was a little discouraging,” Dyer said. “I felt like we accomplished a lot at Reinhardt. I felt like I did well in a lot of the drills, but when they looked at the sheet and saw Reinhardt, they still had some questions. They definitely look more at the kids from the bigger schools. You just have to work harder.”
Dyer did enough at the AAF’s final tryout in Atlanta, though, to impress scouts from Salt Lake.
The AAF assigns most players to their teams based on where they played their college football, but since Reinhardt is outside the Atlanta Legends’ assigned affiliates, Dyer was able to sign with anyone.
“The scouts asked me if anyone else had talked to me about signing,” Dyer said. “They hadn’t. I thought maybe Atlanta was, but they overlooked me. They told me to expect a call, and a couple days later, they called and offered me a contract.”
Because of how teams are built, Dyer will be one of the few players in the eight-team league moving across the country to play.
He said he is looking forward to seeing his new surroundings, though.
“I’m excited,” said Dyer, who played his high school ball at Brookwood. “I guess it gave me a reason to get away from Atlanta for a little bit. I didn’t really care where I played.”
Dyer will report for league-wide training camp in San Antonio the last week of November before heading to Salt Lake City the following week.
He said he is looking at the contact as a way to chase his ultimate goal of playing in the NFL.
“It’s like a stepping stone,” he said. “It’s a chance for me to go out and showcase my skills. I want to show I can still get to the quarterback, get off blocks and have an impact.”