If you are still wondering which SEC football coach didn’t vote Tim Tebow first-team all-SEC, you can cross Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin off your list of suspects.
Tebow won the 2007 Heisman Trophy and has helped Florida win two national championships. But he wasn’t a unanimous selection on the coaches preseason All-SEC team, which was announced last week.
When asked about his vote at Tuesday’s media conference, UT’s first-year coach said he did vote for Tebow. He also endorsed Tebow as a future NFL quarterback.
“I recruited (Tebow) out of high school,” said Kiffin, who was then an assistant coach at Southern California. “I spent the whole weekend with Tim (and his family). It’s a real special family, and he’s a real special kid.
“I knew back then that no matter where he went, he would win a ton of games just because of his presence. He has a superstar presence and a confidence about him.”
Kiffin believes Tebow’s talents will carry over into the NFL, despite what some critics have said.
“I remember being there at Nease High School watching him, and some other coaches being there,” said Kiffin, who was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. “I talked to some people when he was at the Elite 11 (quarterbacks camp). I loved him on film.
“(Others said) ‘I don’t know, his motion is a little bit funny. He’s good in high school, but he’ll probably have to play fullback (in college).’
“I said, ‘I don’t know what you guys see, but I think he’s great.’ Does he throw a perfect spiral all the time? No. But so what. A lot of great ones don’t.
“The guy’s a winner. I read where someone says he’s potentially the greatest college player ever. If he does it again this year, that’s probably the right statement.”
“I think he will be a great NFL quarterback.”
Kiffin is aware that others won’t concur with his NFL assessment of Tebow.
“I’m sure there will be nine million articles written about how he can’t play quarterback in the NFL,” Kiffin said. “And he’ll go there and win a Super Bowl.”
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.