The University of Oregon has come under fire recently with news regarding a development between Oregon and Texas scout Will Lyles. Questions have been raised regarding a payment made to Lyles in the amount of $25,000 and Lyles' relationship with Oregon running back Lache Seastrunk.
Lyles was previously employed with Elite Scouting Services, a prep scouting service based out of Florida, before starting his own company called Complete Scouting Services.
The company’s president, Charles Fishbein, agreed to do a rare interview with DuckTerritory.com’s Justin Hopkins regarding his company and relationship with Will Lyles and Oregon.
Fishebein’s service is similar to others across the country like the Dwight Thomas’ LRS, Dick Lascola’s SEA and Randy Neu’s Texas Sports Films. To varying degrees services like these offer highlight videos, game film, profiles on prospects, etc.
ESS is a relatively new company, but Fishbein himself has been in the recruiting game for almost a decade. “We are going into our fourth year at ESS. Previously I worked at MSL Sports for 4-5 years before I started this company. We had several of the MSL scouts come over with us, including Willie Lyles.”
Like other scouting companies, Fishebein represents multiple clients. “We have over 80 schools that we service. Florida, Florida State, FIU, Georgia State, West Texas A&M and Massachusetts are just a few of the many clients we service.”
ESS sells its service based on need. Some schools may need a single state of region. Others, like Oregon, who take a more national approach to recruiting, may need a national package. As coverage goes up, so does cost.
“You can get service by single state or a national package which typically includes three or more states. A national package won't really include 22 states or some large number like that. To comprehensively cover that many states would take an enormous company with a lot of manpower. With our service you can buy web service or hard copies or both. You can buy for multiple states or just a single state. So the cost can vary by a pretty wide margin.”
As Oregon began to venture more and more into Florida, the Ducks employed Fishbein’s service a couple of years ago. “I worked with Oregon and gave them profiles or would pass along a name of recruit that expressed an interest in Oregon. For instance, most knew about Jerrard Randall (Hollywood, Fla.-class of 2011 QB) and that he liked Oregon. I let them know and gave them his information but it was up to them to recruit him or not. We don't promote schools, we relay information and that's as far as we go. Most schools want to know about kids after doing some research, and that was the relationship I had with Oregon.”
Will Lyles was hired by Fishebein to help cover Texas and Louisiana. “Will's job at ESS was to obtain game film, take pictures and create profiles for prospects in the state of Texas. He specialized in Houston, Dallas, East Texas and some of West Louisiana. He was also responsible for creating high school team pages on our website for coaches to access. He was also responsible for signing colleges to use our service.”
Fishbein and Lyles parted ways in January of 2010. “When Will was motivated he was very good. If you kept on him and pushed him he'd do a good job.”
Repeated calls to Lyles cell phone seeking a response were not returned.
Fishebein said he had never met or spoken with Lache Seastrunk during his recruitment. “I was not involved at all. I just handle Florida and that's all I have time for. It is impossible to cover more than one state like Texas or Florida with as many prospects as they have. It's really hard work to do what we do and a lot of people don't understand that. We go out on the road, get a lot of game film, have to upload that game film and then make profiles for those prospects. Once that's done you still have to keep them updated with up-to-date information.”
When asked if a scout could have an influence on a prospect’s decision where to sign, Fishbein said, “I think a kid's usually going to go where they want to go. But once again, I don't promote any school over another.”
He also doesn’t think any findings or rulings by the NCAA in the Oregon case could have any impact on how his company conducts business. “I doubt there is any impact for the services that are running reputable companies. I'm signing new schools currently and once you earn a reputation for providing that level of service I don't see any problems that could come to those who are running a viable scouting company.”