Photo by Rachael Le Goubin / The Kent StaterIf girlfriend only know Dri Archer from his Google results, chances are you will do think he to be dead.

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The an initial Google autofill results are quite innocuous, and, honestly, fitting.

“Dri Archer 40 time” — that ran a 4.24 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in 2014, climate the second-fastest in NFL history.

“Dri Archer Kent State” — he spent four years in ~ Kent State and recorded end 3,500 yards indigenous scrimmage.

“Dri Archer network worth” — that signed a four-year $2.748 million contract through the Pittsburgh Steelers together a rookie.

But the more down girlfriend get, the more Archer’s fate look at to be sealed.



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Well, I deserve to tell you what taken place to Dri Archer.

First off, he’s no dead. Far from it. However in a sense, the understandable the someone would think he dropped into a feet somewhere, never ever to it is in heard indigenous again. Top top Sept. 3, 2015 Archer’s last NFL carry came, a one-yard rush against the Carolina Panthers wherein his feet slipped the end from underneath him, a fitting finish to a job that never truly got its footing.

Dri Archer’s job has always been one based approximately speed. He’s always been the more quickly player top top the field, something that was apparent to Jerry McManus. McManus was the to run backs coach at Kent State in 2007 once he very first watched Dri Archer’s high school tape. McManus and the Kent State staff was in search of a running back that can serve together a sort of “home run hitter.”

Archer, a small at Venice high college in Venice, Florida, looked like he can be that residence run hitter.

“Once he gained the secondary, nobody to be going to capture him,” McManus said. “We got to look into them. Yet at the time he wasn’t the biggest guy.”

But that wasn’t constantly like that for Archer. His freshman year he to be a 4-foot-8 98 pound running back who didn’t check out the field much. His sophomore year he no play. When he went back to the football ar his small year, he to be 5-foot-2 120 pounds. Not precisely the develop of a department I running back.

The summer before his an elderly year, however, Archer fight a development spurt the sorts, filling the end at 5-foot-5, 155 pounds. And also while his diminutive dimension was a red flag to some coaches, his rate let coaches skipping it.

“Size was an issue, yet he had actually those features of explosion… we’d obtain them in the load room, he’s going to get bigger and also stronger,” McManus said.

Kent State’s recruitment the Archer began with then-secondary coach Scott Booker, with McManus choose up the recruiting after ~ Booker left for Western Kentucky.

Archer immediately hit it off v McManus and signed his letter that intent with Kent State top top Feb. 4, 2009 prior to officially enrolling in June. Kent State to be the only department I college to offer Archer. The just other college he saw was Charleston Southern, that plays in the large South.

“I was surprised the none the those institutions in Florida even recruited him,” McManus said. “I kept saying ‘I can’t think that these schools in Florida aren’t recruiting him.’ once he could physically match up come what his capacity was that he to be going to it is in a heck of a football player.”

But prior to Archer even stepped on the ar for the Flashes, his time at Kent State nearly came come an end.

He was homesick.

A week right into his time in ~ Kent State, Archer wanted to go home. However it no going to be the easy.

“You come home, you joining the Army,” Archer’s mommy would call him as soon as he said he wanted to leaving Kent. “You’re not remaining at my house.”

Archer to be joining a Kent State backfield that featured stud running back Eugene Jarvis. In 2007 (the year the McManus first found Archer’s to mark tape) Jarvis broke out for nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards. And while the his numbers took a dramatic dive in 2008 (he rushed for 801 yards ~ above the season) he still looked poised to work with Archer in a dynamic backfield.

Archer’s very first two year at Kent State no anything special. He just rushed for 246 yards his student in the first year year and also then somehow took a step ago his sophomore year, only rushing because that a pedestrian 140 yards.

That all set the stage for his breakout junior year.

In the 98-year background of Kent State football, the Flashes have only been to three postseason key games. In 1954 Kent State went 8–2 and lost come Delaware in the refrigerator Bowl. 18 years later on the flicker went 6–5 and also lost to the college of Tampa in the Tangerine Bowl. In that years that complied with the Tangerine bowl loss Kent State football wallowed in anonymity. The Flashes winner nine games in 1973 yet the to win consistency from those two seasons couldn’t carry over. In between 1973–2012, Kent State finished above .500 five times. In that very same time period, the Flashes additionally had five winless seasons.

But then Dri Archer’s small season happened. Part of the reason Archer had posted such pedestrian numbers in his first two season in ~ Kent was because he had actually trouble remaining on the field due to injury.

“The big thing for Dri to be durability,” McManus said. “Once he obtained committed to the load room and work ~ above his durability that’s when things clicked. The realized that offseason that if he wanted to play division I football that he required to gain stronger.”


Photo by Hannah Potes / The Kent Stater

Archer’s new explosiveness was on screen from job one. In the Flashes’ season-opener against Towson Archer videotaped two full touchdowns, among which came on a 98-yard kickoff return. Two weeks later on he had actually his very first 100-yard video game on the floor in the Flashes’ win over Buffalo. 2 weeks after that he rushed for 222 yards versus Buffalo in a game where he additionally threw a touchdown pass.

Dri Archer couldn’t avoid scoring and also Kent State couldn’t prevent winning.

In total, Archer score a touchdown in all yet one the Kent State’s 14 games that year. The Flashes’ were ranked in the AP top-25 poll for the first time since 1973 (They peaked at No. 18 in the poll, the highest ranking ever in Kent State history). Also with Kent State’s season finishing with back-to-back casualty in the Mid-American Conference Championship and also the bowl, Archer coming earlier for his an elderly season supposed that the sky was the limit for the Kent State football team.

But the sky fell Archer’s an elderly year. While that still posted nearly 900 yards from scrimmage, Archer’s signature explosiveness no there, thanks in part to one ankle injury he continual in the Flashes’ season-opening win versus Liberty University. Once Archer returned, he no the very same player. While that did score a touchdown in seven straight games in the center of the flashes season, that spent many of the year doing not have that exact same breakaway capacity that had actually been therefore lethal the season prior.

Photo through Brian James blacksmith / The Kent Stater

The injury also restricted his capability in the return game, as he only had actually two kickoff return on the year (one of which he returned 100 yards because that a touchdown, FWIW). Archer was able to finish his season ~ above a high note, however, as he rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns in his final collegiate game against Ohio.

Now it to be Archer’s time come shine in the NFL.

Only four players in NFL history have ran a sub 4.28 secs in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. John Ross, who is at this time a wide receiver because that the Cincinnati Bengals, ran a 4.22, the more quickly in combine history, while Rondel Menendez (a receiver that was drafted in 1999 who never ever played a snap in the NFL) and also Chris Johnson (one of the ideal running backs of every time) both ran 4.24.

Then yes sir Dri Archer.

In 2014, Archer ran a 4.26, the 3rd fastest time in combine history. When there were still some concern marks surrounding his ability, his integrate time instantly shot the up breeze boards throughout the country.

“I thought he to be going to be a second-round breeze pick because of his speed and also 40 time” claimed John Peacock, that is the head football coach at Venice high college where the coached Archer.

Peacock’s guess was a round off. Archer to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round. In some means Pittsburgh looked to be the perfect fit for him. Archer to be joining among the many stable establishments in the NFL that likewise featured depth in the backfield through Le’Veon Bell and also LeGarrette Blount. Archer didn’t need to be the bellcow because that the Steelers, simply the perfect changeup ago for them.

In his an initial preseason v the Steelers, Archer totaled 108 yards receiving in four games, showcasing his capability to obtain open and make things happen with the round in his hands.

That didn’t carry over to the constant season, however. Archer totaled 63 yards from scrimmage in 2014, 24 the which come the Steelers week 4 loss to Cleveland. His longest play from scrimmage to be a 15 garden catch versus the Bengals top top Sunday night football.

While he had actually trouble finding his footing from the line of scrimmage, the did display some moves on the kickoff team, together he average 22 yards per return on the season.

Despite this, injuries to Blount and also Bell expected that Archer was dubbed upon in the Steelers Wild card game against the Baltimore Ravens. V 4:49 left in the fourth quarter, that looked choose Archer to be going to have actually his work in the sun. With Pittsburgh trailing the Ravens 30–15, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found Archer the end of the backfield on a wheel route.

Archer captured the pass and turned up ar towards the finish zone, his blistering rate propelling him right into the finish zone. He overcome the goal line, spicy a hand towards the sky and let out a yell before high-fiving part Steelers fans positioned in the former row.

There was only one problem.

It no count.

Steelers tackle Kelvin Beachum had actually committed stop on the play, which negated Archer’s touchdown. Three minutes later, Roethlisberger looked Archer’s method again but the pass fell harmlessly come the turf.

It to be the last consistent season or playoff play of Archer’s career. The next preseason Archer’s number dipped substantially from the year before. The only regulated 58 yards receiving, and never looked totally comfortable. On Sept. 3, 2015, he take it a handoff from Steelers quarterback Landry Jones and also slipped top top the turf.

It was the critical time Dri Archer would touch a football professionally.

— -

On Nov. 5, 2015, the Steelers reduced Archer, a quiet end to his disappointing tenure in the black and also gold.

The following February the signed with the new York Jets just to be reduced three month later. That may he signed with the Buffalo Bills prior to being cut a week later. Due to the fact that then, Archer has faded away from public life. He’s currently a father, and also posts snapshot of his child on Instagram top top a semi-regular basis. He’s posted ~ above Snapchat that he’s rooting for the golden State warrior this NBA post-season.

Outside the that, Archer seems to have actually moved on native the football part of his life. But somewhere out there, there’s someone still playing Madden 16, utilizing his overpowered card in the game’s can be fried Team mode.

As because that Kent State, things didn’t acquire much better after Archer left. In the 5 years because he’s to be gone, the flashes have an unified to walk 10–38. But brand-new coach Sean Lewis and also stud quarterback Woody Barrett, you could argue that Kent State football is going with its most optimistic period since Dri Archer blazed v Dix Stadium.

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And as soon as Kent State football does placed together another winning season, it’s only fair to imagine the the conversation will certainly swing earlier around to Archer and also his miracle legs, wherever they space now.