August 21, 2018 11:35:33 PM
From Staff and Wire Reports
Starkville High School linebacker and Mississippi State target Zach Edwards is in the middle of a controversy at Texas A&M.
On Tuesday, USA Today's Dan Wolken mentioned Edwards' name in a story about the actions former Texas A&M linebacker Santino Marchiol said inspired his transfer from the program. Marchiol said assistant coach Bradley Dale Peveto gave him hundreds of dollars to entertain Edwards and other players on a recruiting visit.
Starkville coach Chris Jones declined to comment Tuesday night when contacted by The Dispatch.
According to Wolken's story, at the time of these visits NCAA rules allowed schools to give players hosting recruits $40 per day to entertain their guests on official visits. Since this was an unofficial visit, the money Peveto allegedly gave Marchiol would be a NCAA violation.
Edwards was one of Starkville High's most productive players last season in the Yellow Jackets' runner-up finish to Pearl in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A State championship game. Edwards led Starkville with 125 tackles, 36 for a loss, and 11 sacks last season.
In Starkville's 30-6 victory against Noxubee County on Friday, Edwards, a three-star recruit according to 247Sports, had four tackles, one for a loss, in the season opener for both teams.
Edwards also is ranked the 21st-best prospect in Mississippi regardless of position and as the 26th-best inside linebacker in the nation. He committed to LSU after visiting in the spring but decommitted in the summer.
Texas A&M says it is reviewing allegations of possible NCAA violations by football coaches made by a former player who transferred to Arizona.
Marchiol, a linebacker who signed with the Aggies in 2017 when Kevin Sumlin was coach, told USA Today that Aggies assistant Bradley Dale Peveto gave him cash on two occasions to entertain recruits on unofficial visits to campus. Schools are allowed to pay expenses for recruits on official visits and NCAA rules allow student hosts to be paid $40 per day to entertain recruits.
Marchiol also claimed new A&M coach Jimbo Fisher's staff possibly violated NCAA rules by running mandatory team activities at impermissible times.
In a statement, Texas A&M says it is reviewing the situation with the NCAA and the SEC Office.
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