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If Dri Archer decides to leave the Kent State football program early, the Golden Flashes won't let him go without a fight.
New Kent State football coach Paul Haynes is teaming up with members of the athletic department to make sure the junior realizes how important he is to the program, and how much they want and need Archer to stay for his senior year.
"We're going to do our part by making sure he shows just how exciting a player he is next year," said Haynes. "We're gonna pitch him for the Heisman (Trophy) right from the start, and we're gonna find creative ways to make sure he touches the ball."
Archer was the focal point of Kent State's stunning turnaround in 2012. He returned the opening kickoff of the season 57 yards against Towson and never stopped producing big plays from that point on, using his 4.2 40-speed and incredible burst to repeatedly explode through the smallest of creases in opposing defenses.
Archer finished the season with 2,577 all-purpose yards and a school-record 23 touchdowns, scoring at least one TD in every game. He rushed for 1,429 yards on 159 carries, averaging nine yards per run, with 16 touchdowns; caught 39 passes for 561 yards four scores; and led the nation in kickoff returns (36.9 ypr), with three going for touchdowns in the first five games before opponents stopped kicking to him.
Archer is currently weighing a decision on whether to leave school early and make himself eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Obviously, Archer's pure speed would be a welcome addition to any pro franchise, while his size (5-foot-8, 175 pounds) would be considered his biggest weakness. Archer could also use another year to prove himself valuable to NFL teams in other ways besides rushes and kickoff returns, which have become almost a non-factor in pro games and may be banned entirely in the future.
If he returns to Kent State, Haynes plans to give Archer and fellow 1,000-yard rusher Trayion Durham (1,316 yards, 4.8 ypc) plenty of chances to showcase any and all of their abilities.
"I call it FTS: Feed the studs," said Haynes. "I'll talk to both Dri and (Durham) about FTS. We know we need to make sure they get their touches next year."
Archer suffered a knee injury during Sunday's GoDaddy.com Bowl, but no update on his status was available on Tuesday.