Losing the recruiting battle for former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson in 2003 prompted Oregon to make a bigger investment in Texas recruiting. That investment, which reportedly includes a $25,000 payment to a Houston-based recruiting service, has triggered an NCAA probe.
Yahoo Sports! and ESPN reported that Oregon paid $25,000 to Complete Scouting Services, a company owned by Willie Lyles, who mentored blue-chip running back Lache Seastrunk. The payment reportedly came shortly after Seastrunk signed with Oregon.
A former Oregon recruiting coordinator told The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress that such services are vital for Oregon to compete nationally for recruits, and that the program’s decision to invest in them to Ducks’ 2003 recruitment of Peterson. Read Fentress’ story here.
Deryk Gilmore said the Ducks began purchasing the packages shortly after Palestine (Texas) High School officials refused to provide Oregon with game video of Peterson. Gilmore said Oregon was told Peterson was not leaving the state.
“Of course we all know he wound up at Oklahoma,” Gilmore told The Oregonian.
Seven years later, Oregon signed three running backs out of Texas, including Seastrunk, who like Peterson was a five-star recruit. And current Oregon running back LaMichael James, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, is from Texarkana and reportedly has a relationship with Lyles.