Ducks Got Trojan Defection From Carroll Ejection?

On Jan. 27, 2010, Lache Seastrunk, the high profile Oregon running back who Will Lyles reportedly “mentored” during Seastrunk’s recruitment, verbally committed to the Ducks. Seastrunk made it official a week later, signing with the school to play football.

Pete Carroll and Will Lyles at USC

Six weeks later Lyles was sent a check for $25,000 by the state of Oregon after invoicing the Univ. of Oregon for providing the Ducks football program with recruiting videos from 22 states. Oregon football coach Chip Kelly has yet to confirm if he or a member of his staff ever received the videos.

Those facts have the NCAA wondering if Oregon paid Lyles for services that were never rendered. If that indeed was the case, then the NCAA might also examine the possibility that Lyles, who is well-known in college coaching circles as a street agent who pushes recruits to certain schools, had undue influence over Seastrunk during his recruitment.

Will Lyles and Lache Seastrunk

Though if you believe multiple reports from main media sources and comments from Seastrunk himself, the former Texas high school star may have actually committed to Oregon Pac-10 rival USC instead had then-coach Pete Carroll not left for the Seattle Seahawks less than a month before signing day.

On Feb. 1, 2010, John Hunt of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN wrote:

The comparison most often made is to former USC running back Reggie Bush, and Seastrunk was set to follow in Bush’s footsteps until coach Pete Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks.

On Jan. 27, 2010, Kristian Dyer of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED wrote:

Considered one of the nation’s top running back recruits, Seastrunk was originally considered a USC lock. But the departure of former Trojans head coach Pete Carroll led Seastrunk to re-consider his options. The source said Seastrunk settled on Oregon in early January, around the time he played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

From the June 2009 video below from Kevin Carden of Scout’s SCPlaybook.com, it isn’t hard to understand why main media reporters and recruiting experts thought Seastrunk a lock for USC.

During the annual “Rising Stars Camp” for high school football prospects held at USC, an off-camera Pete Carroll can be heard encouraging the players during drills. Also in the same proximity to Carroll and mostly off-camera is the same Will Lyles who “mentored” Lache Seastrunk.

How do we know that? Read more…