Earlier Monday, we noted that, in response to an open records request, Oregon released many documents related to recruiting services in general and one owned by Willie Lyles in particular.
We also noted that there was not really any new information contained in the documents. Further digging by George Schroeder of the Eugene Register-Guard and Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian, however, revealed a whopper of an elephant squatting in the middle of the Ducks’ living room.
And, because of it, the university could have some explaining to do.
In late February of 2010, Oregon purchased for $25,000 from Lyles’ Complete Scouting Services what was described as a “2011 National Package” that detailed recruits from several states. The only problem? According to Schroeder, that package for 2011 contained zero recruits that would make up the following year’s recruiting class. Instead, the vast majority of players highlighted in the 143-page book UO received from Lyles contained data on members of the 2009 recruiting class.
Additionally, 132 of the 140 players featured in the “2011” package were from the state of Texas, which calls into question that “national” aspect of the information Lyles gave to the school.
The Oregonian took a slightly larger swing at what appears to be a rather significant issue, noting that “[a] search of all the players listed revealed that virtually all graduated from high school in 2009 with a few graduating in 2010 or 2008.”
One of the recruits in the package dated 2011 was defensive lineman Nosa Eguae out of Mansfield Summit High School in Arlington, Texas. Eguae signed with Auburn in 2009 and started 11 games for the Tigers last season, including the BCS National Championship game against Oregon. He had four tackles, one for loss against the Ducks.
Tragically, another listed recruit, wide receiver Josh Rake out of Southlake Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas, died in a car accident in on Sept. 30, 2010 during his freshman year at the University of North Texas.
So, why in the hell would Oregon pay $25,000 for a package that’s essentially outdated by two years?
Regardless of whether or not the rumors are true, that Lyles pushed players to Eugene, these new details unearthed by the two Oregon newspapers will do nothing but reinforce the perception that Lyles steered recruits, including prized running back Lache Seastrunk in 2010, to the school and received a nice five-figure sum for his efforts in return.