After transferring from Bowling Green, Alabama receiver Gehrig Dieter has lass catches but a chance for a championship. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
Gehrig Dieter was a high school star in South Bend, Indiana, but was not good enough to get a scholarship offer from Notre Dame.
He spent a season at SMU, became a star at Bowling Green and now has a chance to wrap up his career as a national champion with Alabama. The top-ranked Crimson Tide face Clemson on Monday night in the College Football Playoff championship game.
Dieter caught 94 passes and scored 10 touchdowns for Bowling Green last season, playing in coach Dino Babers’ up-tempo, spread offense. After Babers left for Syracuse, Dieter decided to take advantage of the NCAA rule that allows players who have graduated to transfer without sitting out a season.
He considered following Babers to Syracuse or maybe going to school in his home state. A South Bend connection helped bring him to Tuscaloosa. Dieter's stellar high school career had caught the attention of former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis. When Weis became Kansas coach, he offered Dieter a scholarship. Dieter decided to go to SMU instead, but transferred after one season to Bowling Green.
Charlie Weis Jr. is an offensive analyst on Alabama’s staff and Dieter’s performance against Tennessee last season caught the attention of the Tide when coaches were scouting the Volunteers.
“I still remember that game,” receivers coach Billy Napier said.
Dieter wasn’t thinking about Alabama when he decided to transfer, but noticed Napier started following him on Twitter. Things got rolling from there.
Dieter's sats have been modest this season: 14 catches for 204 yards and four touchdowns. He has also contributed on special teams, a skill that could help him land a spot in the NFL.
“Once I got here I kind noticed that my role wasn’t going to be what it was at Bowling Green and that was fine with me,” Dieter said Saturday. “I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team. All aspects of my game got better going against those guys every day.”
And, yes, Dieter is named after the old Yankees Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig. Dieter’s father is a Yankees fans.