Last week Van Malone, a former Texas A&M assistant coach, made public an allegation that notorious street agent Will Lyles told him he would need to beat a value of $80,000 in order to secure the services of Patrick Peterson. Peterson soon after denied both having a relationship with Lyles and ever taking any extra benefits for playing college football.
What complicated things at the time was this report from Brian Perroni of the Texas A&M-focused Rivals site. In it, Peterson is quoted as saying he and his father were in Houston to visit one of his father's friends and the friend recommended they visit College Station. Perroni says that he learned at the time that the friend was Lyles. How? Two weeks after the visit he asked Peterson himself who the friend was. That doesn't necessarily negate Peterson's "no relationship" defense, as he called Lyles his father's friend and not his own, but it doesn't help it either.
Here's where the update kicks in. A couple days ago, Joe Schad reported some things he learned from digging into the Peterson story from the angle of Miami, the school Peterson was committed to at the time of his Texas A&M visit.
The primary recruiter of Patrick (Johnson) Peterson for Miami says Will Lyles didn't ask for money or even contact him back then
A former Miami assistant says an A&M coach did warn him that Peterson was visiting College Station "with a street agent."
I'm not sure if these are referring to the same coach or two different ones. Unfortunately, neither Peterson's Rivals profile nor his Scout profile list who his primary recruiter at Miami was. Either way, these two quotes bring up conflicting sentiments for Peterson.
The first one is encouraging, given that Peterson was comfortable enough with everything at Miami to commit there at one point and Lyles was not involved at all. Some of that may have simply been a factor of him being from Pompano Beach though, which is just up the coast north of Miami. Still, he also took official visits to Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and UNC, all schools which haven't signed anyone known to be associated with Lyles.
The second one complicates things. It shows that someone on the Texas A&M staff was suspicious enough of Lyles's intentions to call up a school competing for Peterson's services (and the one Peterson was committed to at that) to give a warning about it. Unfortunately, we have no timeline for this and no identities for the coaches involved, so we can't know if this warning came before or after Lyles's alleged money call to Malone or if Malone was the one who warned Miami.
Right now, it's too early to judge what exactly ended up happening with Peterson's recruitment. I have a feeling that this story will keep slowly developing what with all of the high profile factors involved: Peterson's star status and high draft stock, LSU being one of the SEC and national title favorites for this fall, the increased focus on street agents, and Lyles's position in the investigation at Oregon. We'll keep updating you as more information comes out.
Poseur from And the Valley Shook made a helpful comment that I should have included in the original draft of this piece. Peterson's original denial, before his official statement, included a bit about how he had never visited Texas A&M. There was some controversy over that comment, since he did make an unofficial visit.
Peterson The reporter who had the story first clarified later that Peterson was referring to making an official visit to A&M, which he indeed never did.