Gordon says discipline was key to picking UT

Credit Mike Hamilton for landing cornerback Eric Gordon.

No, Tennessee’s athletic director isn’t actively recruiting for the Vols, but his decision to replace former coach Phillip Fulmer with Lane Kiffin paved the way for Gordon to play for the Vols. Otherwise, Gordon almost assuredly wouldn’t have ended up at UT.

“Probably not man,” the freshman cornerback said Sunday during UT's media day.

The previous staff didn’t think it had a shot at Gordon, who admitted he was likely headed to Miami.

“You don’t want a coach that will let you get by with too much,” Gordon said, referring to Fulmer.

The issue for Gordon was a lack of discipline.

“I’m from Nashville so we hear a lot of stuff that goes on around here: a couple of guys that get arrested, failing drug tests in the past,” the former Hillsboro High School standout said. “My mom just didn’t want that for me.”

Gordon’s lack of discipline in academics almost landed him in prep school. After practicing with the Vols for a week, Gordon was held out of Tuesday’s practice while the NCAA Clearinghouse considered his application.

Gordon was cleared in time for Wednesday’s practices. He responded with an interception on a poorly thrown pass in the morning and sliced in front of a receiver to pick off another pass late Wednesday evening.

“The slant pick was really special,” said Kiffin, who joked that Gordon may have had fresh legs thanks to the NCAA.

Gordon said Kiffin quickly won him over after his hiring was announced on Dec. 1. He committed to Kiffin a week later, making him Kiffin’s first commitment as a head coach.

“I was landing on a plane in California recruiting somebody … just getting ready to land and he commits to us,” Kiffin said. “He was the first commitment we had as a new staff that we had gone and got. It was pretty neat.”

Kiffin laid the groundwork by waiting on Gordon’s bus in Nashville as he returned home from an all-star game. Kiffin spent the rest of the evening with Gordon’s family.

“It was kind of special for me,” Kiffin said of securing Gordon.

Yet it wasn’t patience that landed Gordon; it was a promise to run a disciplined program.

“I think he knew he needed it,” Kiffin said. “He was a guy that was behind (academically) that was going to have to do a lot of work to get eligible. I think he wanted an environment that was going to be very disciplined to come into.

“Sometimes when you know that you’re not the most disciplined — it’s hard to admit it — but you draw towards that discipline because you know you need it.”

Gordon and his mother couldn’t have agreed more.

“She didn’t want me to get into trouble,” he said. “These coaches, they not having any of that.”

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Comments » 21

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

glad to have him but....

is Miami the place to go to find discipline? They have a reputation as being freelance and the Oakland Raiders of NCAA football.

JohnnyU writes:

Good question, jhayes, but again we have a comment from a player directly stating that the new staff runs a much tighter ship than the last (recall the comments from one of the defensive backs when Morley was let go). I have to believe we are going to be better because of it.

abnerPeabody writes:

Discipline,Never heard of that before with the last Coach.This was badly needed.Now just maybe we will see better results on the field.Coaching change was needed and we got it.I just hope Kiffin can get the rest of the job done.We need to be patient for a couple of years and give Kiffin time to implement his program and get his kind of players.I really believe we will be top contenders again in a couple of years.In fact I look for a really good year this season.But to be where Florida and Alabama is will take time.Don't get too disgusted while the plan is being drawn up.I don't feel I wasted my money for season tickets and donation this year.The first time in a while that I have been this excited about football.

UrbanCryer writes:

wow! that says a lot about the previous coach. not that we didnt already know it. the ship had been sinking for a while. i got tired of the same predictable mess year after year. now kiffin may or may not be the answer. but the mass exodous of players at the begining of kifs reign said a lot about some of fulmers "boys'. i hate that a pep-rally comment got released to the press(urban cheating comment), but i think all will be well in big orange country. i looked back at the past few years commits and there are a good bit of 4 & 5 star guys so the cupboard isnt as bare as eveyone thinks. me thinks that ut shocks some people this year and wins 8 or more games. hell if fulmer would have givin hardesty and creer the ball last year, they would have had 3 more wins. gulg,glug, glug

1974Vol writes:

I guess the Gators and Bama didn't want him at least that will the Troll take.

ClearVol writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Discipline,Never heard of that before with the last Coach.This was badly needed.Now just maybe we will see better results on the field.Coaching change was needed and we got it.I just hope Kiffin can get the rest of the job done.We need to be patient for a couple of years and give Kiffin time to implement his program and get his kind of players.I really believe we will be top contenders again in a couple of years.In fact I look for a really good year this season.But to be where Florida and Alabama is will take time.Don't get too disgusted while the plan is being drawn up.I don't feel I wasted my money for season tickets and donation this year.The first time in a while that I have been this excited about football.

I agree bowler. Even though I expect to see some vast improvements, it will take time to get the whole package running. Please fellow Neyland fans, No Booing our own team/players/play calls etc.

keepitreal4vols writes:

Take that all you negative SEC recruiters saying Tennessee is turning into a renegade program.

Eric will do quite well in the Tennessee 2 defense.

1974Vol writes:

Rivals has him as a 4 star and a 5.9 ranking which is....

6.0-5.8 All-American Candidate; high-major prospect; considered one of the nation's top 300 prospects; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team

FWBVol writes:

OK, what is it about the KNS having let's throw rocks and Phillip Fulmer tonight. First the Adams column and now this story.

I support Lane Kiffin and agree that it was probably time for a change, but Fulmer represented the University of Tennessee very well for a lot of years as a player, assistant coach and head coach. And the National Championship speaks for itself.

Nick Saban is supposedly a discipline guy and the textbook scandal took place on his watch at Alabama. I don't live in East Tennessee any longer so all I have to go by about the discipline problems under Fulmer are stories online and the claims of fans who say they know something.

Discipline is a problem for almost every college program these days. And it starts way before kids hit campus. I was at a youth camp hosted by a high school in my area and there were 10 year olds with an attitude that is right out of the mold of TO.

Yes, a college coach can help with a kid's discipline, but if a kid doesn't decide to toe the line all the baby sitting in the world won't do any good.

The 2009 season is a little more than three weeks away so I hope this will be the last time the KNS staff takes a shot backwards and starts looking forward.

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

glad to have him but....

is Miami the place to go to find discipline? They have a reputation as being freelance and the Oakland Raiders of NCAA football.

They USED to be the renegade program. Seems Randy Shannon has cleaned them up. I couldn't tell you the last time I heard anything negative out of Coral Gables. UF on the other hand...

Just saying...

eldr5#344719 writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ummm...I think Abrams-Ward got kicked off the team by CLK............either that or he quit.

spencer1989#206886 writes:

in response to Lostballnhighweeds:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not that I am showing any of my age here (joke)....But I think the song you are referring to is Sweet Music Man by Kenny Rogers.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to JohnnyU:

Good question, jhayes, but again we have a comment from a player directly stating that the new staff runs a much tighter ship than the last (recall the comments from one of the defensive backs when Morley was let go). I have to believe we are going to be better because of it.

Agree. Miami is not the "Thug U" of the past. Randy Shannon was specifically hired a couple of years ago to clean up the program, and by all accounts he has done so. Expect to see Miami back near the top in the next couple of years.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I get your basic point, and I too expect to see much improvement, but Saban went 6-6 his first year. That was an improvement over the previous year, but hardly set the woods on fire. Besides, isn't that the year they lost to LA-Monroe at home? Meyer of course won the NC his first year, but did so largely with Zook's recruits. Even most Gator fans will agree that Zook was a good--and even arguably a great--recruiter; heck, he even has ILLINOIS competitive again! No, it's harder to turn a losing football team around than, say, a basketball team. One or two great players can turn a basketball team around, but football requires much more in the way of quality depth and guys with a much wider variety of specialty skills. I'm of the "let's give CLK some time" persuasion.

sec_fan writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

glad to have him but....

is Miami the place to go to find discipline? They have a reputation as being freelance and the Oakland Raiders of NCAA football.

Miami only had one arrest in the last two years. They (amazingly) are cleaning it up. A sad commentary on the previous staff.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

I agree the slant on this article was akin to a cruiser still firing at where the enemy ship sank.

But it serves to remind me what a morass we had slogged into.

A recruit's Mama is the BIG influence.

We still hear it from the horse's mouth occasionally.

GOJO writes:

in response to FWBVol:

OK, what is it about the KNS having let's throw rocks and Phillip Fulmer tonight. First the Adams column and now this story.

I support Lane Kiffin and agree that it was probably time for a change, but Fulmer represented the University of Tennessee very well for a lot of years as a player, assistant coach and head coach. And the National Championship speaks for itself.

Nick Saban is supposedly a discipline guy and the textbook scandal took place on his watch at Alabama. I don't live in East Tennessee any longer so all I have to go by about the discipline problems under Fulmer are stories online and the claims of fans who say they know something.

Discipline is a problem for almost every college program these days. And it starts way before kids hit campus. I was at a youth camp hosted by a high school in my area and there were 10 year olds with an attitude that is right out of the mold of TO.

Yes, a college coach can help with a kid's discipline, but if a kid doesn't decide to toe the line all the baby sitting in the world won't do any good.

The 2009 season is a little more than three weeks away so I hope this will be the last time the KNS staff takes a shot backwards and starts looking forward.

*****

Amen 2009 FWBVol. Why keep beating a dead horse? I've been a season ticket holder for over 40 years. I saw Fulmer as a player, & coach. I have a lot of good memories generated by Fulmer Now let us get on with what we need to do & quit castigating those who came before.

CrankE writes:

Lots of talk about Miami cleaning it up with Randy Shannon. I hope that's for real and that the 'Canes start having some real success. One of the best friends UT and the rest of the SEC could have is a strong UM to counter UF. KnowhutImeenVern?

txvolsfan writes:

Ironic that players now look at the U for discipline now!! It just shows you what a change of coaches can do!!!

TrueVolFan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I get your basic point, and I too expect to see much improvement, but Saban went 6-6 his first year. That was an improvement over the previous year, but hardly set the woods on fire. Besides, isn't that the year they lost to LA-Monroe at home? Meyer of course won the NC his first year, but did so largely with Zook's recruits. Even most Gator fans will agree that Zook was a good--and even arguably a great--recruiter; heck, he even has ILLINOIS competitive again! No, it's harder to turn a losing football team around than, say, a basketball team. One or two great players can turn a basketball team around, but football requires much more in the way of quality depth and guys with a much wider variety of specialty skills. I'm of the "let's give CLK some time" persuasion.

John, I see your point, but you need to check your facts a little. First off, Sabans first year record of 6-6 WAS NOT an improvement over the previous years record under Mike Shula (also 6-6 regular season). Then you have Oscar Meyer winning the NC his 1st year? Wrong again. Meyer finished his first year with a 9-3 record (including a loss to a Shula coached Bama team).
sortof takes the cred out of your post when your facts are so far off.

volmot writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He's not as dumb as you. The U was cleaned up under Butch Davis. After he left Coker took the program over and except for the fight with FIU ( from what I understand was started by FIU and is a blood feud because of all the players on both teams who played with/against each other in Dade and Broward counties) he had few incidents, to Randy Shannon a former U player who runs a tight ship yeah Miami isn't the renegade program it was in the 80's. The Gators have had 25 arrest in 2 years compared to 1-2 for the U. Get your facts straight. But all of this stuff about discipline don't mean jack if we don't win. We talk about the Gators lack of discipline and player arrest but the truth is Vol fans would put up with it for 2 NC IN 3 years. Guilty as charged

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