Online Now 1108

Inside the Bubble

The place to talk about the Texas Longhorns

Online now 1044
Record: 7224 (2/22/2012)

Boards ▾

Inside the Bubble

The place to talk about the Texas Longhorns

6th Street

The place for off topic discussion on Hookem

Reply

Will Lyles - what I know

  • I first met Will Lyles on Jan. 31, 2005.

    I was set to be on television that night to cover the college decision of Martellus Bennett.

    But before I went over to the Fox Southwest studios, I wanted to cover another press announcement.

    Myself and a few other recruiting reporters went to an area restaurant to see where two Houston area recruits – Westside’s R.J. Jackson and Lamar’s Brandon LaFell – would decide to play their college ball.

    At the restaurant, Lyles was running the show.

    Things seemed sketchy. It was unlike anything I had seen in Texas high school football before. I had a lot of questions.

    * Where were the high school coaches?

    * Why was this happening here at a restaurant instead of at a school or even in a TV studio?

    * How did these two kids from different high schools decide to commit together at a Houston restaurant?

    Eventually, Lamar coach Tom Nolen showed up, but it was obvious he wasn’t running the show. He was just a bystander in one of his prize pupils’ recruitments. That was odd. If you know Tom Nolen, that’s not how he likes things to be done.

    Gerry Hamilton, then a member of the Orangebloods staff, was there covering the event, too.

    He and I looked at each other. Neither of us had a positive feel for what was taking place.

    It could have been just a bad gut feel. I have no proof it was anything more than that. But it was a bad gut feel.

    **

    Later that same evening, Alief Taylor tight end Martellus Bennett was set to announce his college decision on Fox Sports Southwest.

    That was another circus entirely, but Lyles knew the Bennetts, too

    How much, I don’t know.

    But after that night, it was obvious to me that Houston area high school football, and recruiting in the area, was changing in a way that I didn’t think was in the best interests of high school athletes and their families.

    **

    The list of players rumored to be involved at one time or another with Will Lyles is staggering. I want to stress “rumor” because that is what some of these are.

    Martellus Bennett – Alief Taylor – Texas A&M
    Michael Goodson – Klein Collins – Texas A&M
    Lache Seastrunk – Temple – Oregon
    Daniel Campbell – Aldine – USC
    Trevon Randle – League City Clear Springs - LSU
    Donte Williams – Aldine – Oregon
    Ahmad Dixon – Waco Midway – Baylor
    Terrance Tolliver – Hempstead – LSU
    Craig Loston – Aldine Eisenhower – LSU
    LaMichael James – Texarkana Liberty-Eylau – Oregon
    Danny McCray – Spring Westfield - LSU
    Patrick Peterson (Johnson) – Pompano Beach. Fla/Ely - LSU
    Trent Richardson – Pensacola, Fla./Escambia - Alabama
    Trovon Reed – Thibodeaux, La. - Auburn

    I have absolutely no proof of any wrong doing in any of these cases.

    However, these are the players I have heard personally that have been “involved with”, worked out with or were counseled by Lyles at some level during their recruitment.

    **

    Lyles’ presence has had a profound effect on how some colleges recruit Houston and certain players in the state.

    Some college coaches who recruit Houston and the state of Texas heavily have become weary enough of Lyles that the schools will essentially cross players off their list if there is a known relationship with Lyles. One school will do so even if there is merely a “rumored” association with Lyles and nothing proven.

    Again, I have no proof that Lyles is doing anything wrong. The schools, to my knowledge, have no proof either.

    **

    This year, Lyles is “rumored” to be involved with Spring Dekaney running back Trey Williams and Klein Forest quarterback Matt Davis.

    Another player that has been rumored to be involved with Lyles is Fort Bend Hightower’s Bralon Addison.

    Addison’s father says that he was unaware that any such relationship with Lyles could potentially effect his son’s recruitment. After all, his son had never worked out with Lyles, had never been trained by him, gone on unofficial visits to campuses with him or generally done anything with Lyles.

    According to his father, Bralon Addison had never done a single thing with Lyles. Except there was film of his son on a website supposedly run by a player’s dad that Lyles was rumored to be involved with (the site is actually registered to Trey Williams’ dad and asks for $200 to promote a player via video posting, yet Addison says he was not asked for nor did he pay any money to Williams to have his son’s video posted).

    Addison’s father told us this morning that Lyles had telephoned him several weeks ago and the two spoke about Lyles taking a group of players to Auburn this year and Lyles wanted to see if Bralon wanted to join them. Davis, the Klein Forest quarterback, was one of the players Lyles told Addison he was taking to Auburn. Addison said he declined the offer on behalf of his son.

    The offer to give a ride to a player to another school seems benign on the surface.

    But at what point does offering a ride to a player or players to schools, when simultaneously charging for services for another school – Oregon – constitute an NCAA infraction?

    I don’t know if it does. I’m not an NCAA expert.

    Addison committed to Oklahoma State roughly two weeks ago. And, according to our sources, Lyles has yet to take any players, including Davis, to Auburn.

    **

    Patrick Peterson and Trent Richardson are both guys who Will Lyles tried to “reach out to” when he was attempting to move beyond Texas borders, supposedly.

    When we first heard the rumor about Richardson, myself and another reporter – Tim Watts at BamaOnLine.com -- followed up immediately. Richardson’s brother was helping significantly with Trent’s recruitment. The brother had heard of Lyles but said he had decided not to speak with him again after an initial discussion or discussions.

    There is no proof that either Richardson or Peterson were involved further with Lyles.

    **

    I first mentioned Will Lyles to the Yahoo Sports investigative team two or three years ago, right when Lache Seastrunk’s recruiting was picking up.

    I’d heard rumors of both Seastrunk and Trovon Reed being involved with Lyles. It was clear to me at that point that Lyles was no longer just sticking around Houston to run a training business, which is what I had been told many times previously, beginning with my discussion with Lyles that night in January of 2005. Temple is a three-hour drive from Houston, and while Reed and Seastrunk are reported to be cousins, it was yet another star recruit with a tie to Lyles.

    So I called Josh Peter. Peter was then a lead investigative reporter for Yahoo. Peter is no longer with the company, but he played a role in breaking some of the biggest pieces in sports in the last handful of years, including finding that a Big 10 referee who made controversial calls on consecutive weekends owed a casino money. That Big 10 referee did not make another season in the Big 10 and the league ultimately changed its background-check rules for referees.

    Yahoo Sports as a organization also led the way on the Reggie Bush scandal/investigation that ultimately led to Bush no longer having the Heisman Trophy. Suffice to say, Yahoo has been outstanding as it relates to investigative reporting.

    What I mean by saying all of this is that Will Lyles is not a “new” thing in the college football recruiting landscape.

    Whether it’s five-plus years ago at a Houston restaurant or two years ago when there was more talk about Seastrunk and Reed, Lyles has been part of the landscape for a while.

    I believe this story is only breaking now because of the money trail – a $25,000 or so check – that was found between Oregon and Lyles. That is something tangible for reporters to sink their teeth into and it’s an amount that is large enough that it’s not considered merely a “going rate” in the industry for recruiting services.

    This post has been edited 4 times, most recently by BobbyBurton 3 years ago

    Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BobbyBurton247

  • He's a POS and I hope all this attention steers kids away from him and essentially kills his "business".

  • Thank you for that synopsis.

  • Bobby, I admire your candidness but despite what is going on I am not sure if anything Lyles is doing is actually against any rule. It looks like he is taking the very common basketball AAU model and applying it to 7 on 7 football. I would think that there would need to be more of a money trail Oregon -->25k--->Lyles---->Mrs. Seastrunk before anything could be done and if she received cash for her son I doubt she would volunteer it.

    76-37-5

  • If he has ever taken a kid to a campus and also received money from an institution, I believe that could be a big-time issue with the NCAA. I don't think you can do both, but like I said, I'm not an NCAA expert.

    Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BobbyBurton247

  • Thanks for the backstory Bobby.

  • Great read

    Is Flenory, Nelson, Barham the same type as Lyles?

  • Fantastic.

    Of course he was taking those kids to Auburn...

  • Thanks Bobby.

    signature image

    Visit http://40AcresSports.com and download my Texas FanGuide iPhone/iPad app: http://bit.ly/TexasFanApp

  • BobbyBurton said... (original post)

    If he has ever taken a kid to a campus and also received money from an institution, I believe that could be a big-time issue with the NCAA. I don't think you can do both, but like I said, I'm not an NCAA expert.

    According to a Joe Schad tweet from just a minute ago:

    “@schadjoe: Yes, there is an NCAA bylaw that prohibits a scouting service or scout from "placing" a player for $”

    signature image

    Visit http://40AcresSports.com and download my Texas FanGuide iPhone/iPad app: http://bit.ly/TexasFanApp

  • Awesome information

    "You will reap what you sew" -Steve Keenum

  • Solid info.

    Where there's smoke there's fire.

    Signatures are stupid. You should block them.

  • brianb722 said... (original post)

    According to a Joe Schad tweet from just a minute ago:

    “@schadjoe: Yes, there is an NCAA bylaw that prohibits a scouting service or scout from "placing" a player for $”

    FBI has been using human trafficking laws to start looking into this as well. IRS will be interested if there is unreported income. We may not hear about any NCAA investigation for a while if the feds get involved.

  • "Willie said he was a trainer," Evelyn Seastrunk said. "Now Oregon says he's a scout. Is he on Oregon's payroll? If Willie Lyles collected $25,000 off my son he needs to be held accountable. The NCAA must find out for me. I don't know how to digest someone cashing in on my son."

    But the kid didn't take a cut or know Lyles was getting paid?

    This post was edited by Aristotle 3 years ago

  • Thanks for putting many rumors together.

  • "In making the rounds today, I've heard from sources that multiple major college football programs that have signed Lyles players had full staff meetings to scare out exactly what the program's involvement with Lyles was."

    SportsByBrooks Facebook page

    His sources did prove right on which team Cowherd was referring to...

    This post was edited by adrg11 3 years ago

  • Now everything makes sense, why we missed out on so many of those kids.


  • excellent article. he's not going to like you for this, Bobby. the NCAA just isn't likely to do anything. the writing is on the wall. sadly, look at the two teams who played for the NC last season. two of the most Lyles is involved with, and that's not even getting into a separate issue with Cam Newton.

    unfortunately unless something is done by the NCAA, we're probably looking at more people like this.

    props for writing it. some wouldn't have the balls to.

  • http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2011/03/canzano_oregon_football_takes.html

    "A Ducks football office insider said of Lyles, 'around here, we call him 'Will'. We've already distanced ourselves from him, trust me.' "

  • WildBill71 said... (original post)

    Fantastic.

    Of course he was taking those kids to Auburn...

    Yet.....he never took any kids to Auburn. That's kind of an important detail.

    I haven't heard his name linked to Trovon Reed before, but I did hear about him and Seastrunk.

    At one point Auburn and LSU were both very high on Seastrunk. He was #2 behind Michael Dyer on the Auburn board at RB, with Lattimore a close #3. In following recruiting almost daily, there was a time when all of the sudden both Auburn and LSU completely cut ties with Seastrunk. The coaches simply stopped contacting him and he fell off the board at both schools.

    This was especially odd to AU fans because Lache had more or less named Auburn, LSU, and USC his leaders. Then poof, the coaches just steered clear of him. I remember our AuburnUndercover (our version of Hookem) noting that Seastrunk was not longer an Auburn target.

    Most of us thought it was odd how suddenly we cut ties with him. We wondered if it was grades or what. It wasn't until later that Lyles name came up and the rumor was Lache's mom had her hand out.

    This post was edited by jadennis 3 years ago

    signature image signature image
  • adrg11 said... (original post)

    "In making the rounds today, I've heard from sources that multiple major college football programs that have signed Lyles players had full staff meetings to scare out exactly what the program's involvement with Lyles was."

    SportsByBrooks Facebook page

    His sources did prove right on which team Cowherd was referring to...

    Even if the NCAA isn't able to do anything, I'm glad that Lyles's name is out there and it's not just whispers and innuendo anymore. What school is going to risk signing one of his players, knowing that questions will follow?

  • "Coaches at other college programs, including one that Seastrunk jilted, knew Oregon was paying Lyles, and were shaking their heads and whispering to reporters."

    Mack?

  • It's frustrating that the NCAA is so slow catching on to this. In fact, they may never have done anything had not yahoo broke the story.

  • That was pretty damn impressive and a good read

    signature image signature image signature image
  • Lyles is certainly known in his industry as "questionable" with regards to his intentions. Unfortunately someone like Lyles can poison an industry which does have some great companies and people that do provide a service most colleges use.

    If financial records from Lyles' behalf can be found, I expect we may find other "questionable" payments made to him from other universities. But for now Oregon is the focal point as they have provided an actual paper trail.

    I think we can expect the landscape in this industry will now change with regards to the NCAA and their guidelines.

    Great info Bobby as usual.

    Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/JHopkins247

  • 72, this has been on the radar for a long time, even for the NCAA IMO.

    National Director of Scouting & Recruiting Analyst @GerryHam247