Colt Lyerla grew up in a "poor" and "unstable" environment, according to an pre-NFL draft report. Despite this, Lyerla rose to become one of the most prominent prospects in Oregon history.
As a five-star recruit, Lyerla at one time thought he was a lock to end up at USC, but in a twist of fate (more on that in a bit), Lyerla ended up at Oregon. While he showed flashes of dominance that his freakish size/athleticism allowed him, Lyerla was dismissed in 2013. A few weeks later he was arrested on cocaine charges.
Despite all that, Lyerla earned a tryout with the Packers. He stuck too, until he tore both his MCL and PCL in a scrimmage while trying to hurdle a defender.
Now, Lyerla, stuck in an NFL no-man's-land as he continues his rehab, is turning his crosshairs on his former collegiate program.
From Mike Piellucci's profile of Lyerla:
This was fine with Drake. Better than fine, actually; even something he encouraged. [Lyerla's high school coach Steve] Drake knew that "there's a good Colt crowd and a bad Colt crowd," that some of Colt's friends lived from party to party and that it would be much easier for the bad crowd to follow him to Eugene or Corvallis than it ever would be Los Angeles. "He needed to start over," he says. "He grew up in a fishbowl ... I wanted him to get away from [that], as any father would." Lyerla's family was on board, too. "There was a point where me and my mom and everyone in my family was like 'Yeah, like, go to USC,'" he says. "'We can't wait for you to go to USC.'" For once, everything was lining up exactly how he'd planned.
Their enthusiasm dampened when an unofficial adviser weighed in. Lyerla declines publicly to identify the man, a powerful University of Oregon booster known to the family. The adviser made the benefits of that decision clear. If Lyerla went to Oregon, "I was promised a house, a car, all these things."
Lyerla knew the man had the means to deliver on his guarantees. Tammy knew that as well, too, and now she leaned on her son to sign with the Ducks, a change Lyerla believes was made with the best intentions, but inspired by her precarious living situation. "All of a sudden, it was ‘You need to go to Oregon. That's the best place for you. They're going to take care of you,' he says. "My mom was really impressionable. When it was me and my mom in high school, it was $600 a month for the both of us. That's how we lived ... anything good financial-wise that would take care of me or take care of her, she was going to go for it."
For what it's worth, Lyerla says he never received any of it:
He never received any of the benefits that were promised to him, not the house and not the car. "It ended up being the exact opposite," [Lyerla] says. "I didn't get any of that. There were always excuses as to why I didn't get those things — [like] I wasn't doing [something] right. I felt played."
So, something doesn't add up here. Why wouldn't Lyerla name the booster that played him? He certainly has more to lose than Lyerla at this point.
Such is how the world turns in elite college football, however.