Willie Lyles’ Patrick Peterson Recruiting Report Only Makes Oregon Look Worse
A report published Wednesday evening alleges that Willie Lyles told a Texas A&M coach in 2007 that he had to pay at least $80,000 to land Patrick Peterson who was one of the top rated defensive backs coming out of high school. Peterson became a star at LSU and is considered to be a likely top-five pick in the NFL draft, but this story is less about him and more about Willie Lyles.
Lyles’ name should be familiar to you because he’s the proprietor of Complete Scouting Services, a recruiting service that was paid $25,000 by Oregon a few weeks after highly touted running back prospect Lache Seastrunk committed to the school. The amount of money Oregon paid for the services renders seemed absurdly high and like something that should not have cost more than $5,000. Many people suspected that the $25,000 to Lyles’ company was a way of disguising a payment issued to the trainer for helping to steer Seastrunk to Eugene.
The source of ESPN’s report is Van Malone, a former Texas A&M cornerbacks coach. Malone, who is now with Tulsa, told Kelly Naqi that Lyles said to him “If you want [Peterson], there are other schools that want this kid as well. They’re willing to pay a certain amount of money, around the $80,000 mark. He said that was something we were going to have to beat as a university to be able to obtain the services of this kid.”
Peterson’s father said the news from Malone was a shocker to him, and it very well could be. Whether or not Lyles was representing Patrick’s family and splitting money with them is a matter that should concern the NCAA and LSU. If the Tigers’ best player the last two seasons was paid major money to attend the school, that would be a blatant violation of NCAA rules. If not, then at the least it suggests Lyles was attempting to get paid major money from schools to deliver players, just like the $25,000 he got from Oregon.
We have no idea if LSU cut a deal with Lyles or just recruited Peterson straight up, but this tells us Lyles was trying to get paid for the player. Like I said, the person who looks the worst in all of this is Willie Lyles, and it reflects extremely poorly upon Oregon.