Tennessee’s newest commitment is widely projected to play cornerback in college. That, however, doesn’t come close to describing Eric Gordon’s skills.
It’s his athleticism and versatility that had newly hired UT coach Lane Kiffin zeroed in on the Hillsboro High School star.
Kiffin visited with the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Gordon last week and then was in the stands in Murfreesboro for Hillsboro’s Class 4A state championship win last Saturday against Maryville.
Kiffin’s dedication paid off; Gordon committed to UT on Tuesday.
“A lot of it had to do with him,” Gordon said of his commitment. “Just visiting with him made me realize who he is and what he’s about.”
Gordon said Kiffin’s intensity and game plan for building a winner at UT stood out. Kiffin expects Gordon to play cornerback, slot receiver and kick returner at UT, Gordon said.
For more proof of Gordon’s versatility, just look to that state championship game. Gordon, the brother of former Mississippi State basketball player Jamont Gordon, was named the offensive MVP thanks to 88 all-purpose yards and Hillsboro’s only touchdown.
“I think he is the best pure athlete I’ve ever coached,” Hillsboro coach Scott Blade said.
Gordon has played a number of positions at Hillsboro, mainly cornerback during his freshman, sophomore and senior season. Gordon played free safety as a junior.
While his main high school priority was defensive back, Gordon also played running back, wide receiver and even threw three passes in 2008. He also returned kicks and punts.
Gordon proved effective at all the above. He rushed for over 600 yards, had over 800 receiving yards and intercepted six passes.
Gordon scored five different ways in 2008: rushing, receiving and returning a punt, kickoff and interception for a touchdown.
All that made Gordon — the News Sentinel’s sixth best preseason prospect in the state — a top prospect for Kiffin, who vowed to close the recruiting borders on Tennessee during his introductory press conference on Dec. 1.
Gordon also cited playing for Kiffin’s father, Monte Kiffin, as a reason UT suddenly became so enticing.
Monte Kiffin is widely considered one of the top defensive coordinators in the history of the NFL. Now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he is expected to join his son at UT following the Bucs’ season.
“It was big,” Gordon said of playing for the elder Kiffin. “I know his dad is one of the greatest ever. His son is good too. They’re going to recruit a lot of guys and hopefully be a dynasty.”
Gordon also considered Oklahoma, Miami and Alabama before choosing UT.
“It was just the right time,” Gordon said. “I felt good about it.”