When it comes to recruiting, Kiffin all business

That coach on the West Coast who so many in this area dislike has never been afraid to discuss recruiting.

Unlike so many coaches, Lane Kiffin speaks his mind - a rarity among recruiters who believe that stealth is the only option. Secrets? That's what recruiting is all about.

So when the former Tennessee coach talks about recruiting, it's worth listening. Despite his age and willingness to jilt bosses like they're telemarketers, Kiffin heads up one of the top recruiting staffs in the country and is blatantly frank - a likely byproduct of his self confidence.

Need proof? Just ask Kiffin where the Vols' 2010 recruiting class would have finished nationally had he stayed at UT through National Signing Day instead of taking the job at Southern California.

"I think it would have been a top-three class, probably," Kiffin said. "Not having a top, top quarterback in the class usually affects your ranking. It's hard to get to the top two spots without that."

No offense meant, I'm sure, to Tyler Bray or Matt Simms, who Kiffin secured before leaving Knoxville.

Without Kiffin, UT's class still finished ninth or 15th in the nation, depending on which recruiting service you subscribe to.

Much of that credit goes to Kiffin's plan before his quick exit. Kiffin knew he'd miss the many seniors that contributed this past season, so he pushed for prospects that could enroll in January. The eight who did helped provide a foundation for new coach Derek Dooley.

Kiffin hasn't forgotten about Tennessee - the state, not the university. He's recruiting in Memphis like so many others, namely LSU and Miami as of late.

Many remember that Kiffin flew to Memphis shortly after he was hired by the Vols in December 2008. Closing the city was a must. Now, raiding it is a luxury.

"I don't know that it helps that much," Kiffin said when asked how his time coaching in Tennessee may help him recruit within the state's borders from afar. "USC has a pretty strong national pull no matter where it is . . . SC is a very powerful place. It can really go anywhere and have a chance to sign a kid."

Kiffin cited one of his prized recruits as a USC assistant, receiver Patrick Turner, as an example.

Fair enough. But recruiters in the Memphis area from other schools had to wince when they heard that Kiffin hired former Memphis quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Clay Helton to coach quarterbacks.

Kiffin maintained that the hire was not about recruiting; it was more about coaching - another luxury he didn't have in his 14 months at UT.

Kiffin's UT coaches had to be great recruiters because they didn't have a strong in-state talent base or recent success to sell. Not so at USC, where Kiffin's staff will be more about coaches - not just recruiters. Kiffin said he was impressed with Helton while watching from afar in Knoxville.

"Clay was someone I was very impressed with watching Memphis," said Kiffin, who pointed to UT's 56-28 win against Memphis last season as a prime example.

Kiffin said both UT and USC have similar draws for prospects: the school, tradition and history. Yet the Trojans' recent run of success helps - a lot.

"Here you can kind of sell where it's at right now as opposed to where it's going to be," Kiffin said. "Down there in Tennessee, we were always pointing to a picture of where we were going to be."

Kiffin's approach to recruiting is far from the "win one for the home team" that was so successful for traditional powers of the past. Kiffin is more about "What can I do for you?"

That has continued to serve him well - especially when he suddenly switches jobs and has to convince prospects to consider him a genuine guy that just happens to have a new sales pitch.

"Most of them understand there's a business aspect to it," he said. "We didn't have issues with it for the most part. We were able to sign the top class in the country in a short time. Kids weren't that concerned about it."

Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He can be reached at hookerd@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 192

memphis_vol_fan writes:

Dave Hooker should be fired for this!!! Hey Dave, KIFFIN IS AT USC NOW!! Nobody gives a poop about him anymore. Stop kissing Kiffin's @ss and tell us how UT's junior day went or something.

lincolncovol writes:

please noone else post on story maybe they will finally quit wasting our time on this coach thanks

wags32 writes:

Just dont comment on the article they will stop the love affair if they know they are not bothering people.

USNVOL writes:

FIRE DAVE HOOKER.COM

BillsBrother writes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6dm9r...

That's what I think about this article and the subject...

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

KNS - NO!, NO!, NO!

We REALLY don't want anymore of these stories. Those of us who weren't bashing the writers are now beginning to see why others have names for some of them. Why do you continue to put a bad taste in our mouth with your Kiffin stories?

We had a good weekend going until you ruined it.

garycg writes:

Another kiffen story...great

PdxVol writes:

Kiffin is a part of our history whether ya'll like it or not. It's a relevant article for this site because Kiffin is discussing Tennessee. He's not the boogie man... we're UT and we have no need to be insecure.

orange_peel writes:

I am sick and tired of hearing about Lane Kiffin. Nobody knows whether he can coach or not.He has not had any success as a coach anywhere. It is a shame that the writers at the KNS can not find better articles to write. Tell me what UT is doing in any sport or what some of our former players are doing. Enough of Lane Kiffin. USC will be put on probation and Kiffin will get what he deserves.You can not escape karma just ask Earl.

rhmhrh writes:

Would all the readers (if any) and writers who still care about what L Kiffen has to say please move to California...and soon.
Ross

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to orange_peel:

I am sick and tired of hearing about Lane Kiffin. Nobody knows whether he can coach or not.He has not had any success as a coach anywhere. It is a shame that the writers at the KNS can not find better articles to write. Tell me what UT is doing in any sport or what some of our former players are doing. Enough of Lane Kiffin. USC will be put on probation and Kiffin will get what he deserves.You can not escape karma just ask Earl.

Agree OP! The comment about Earl, now that was funny right there!

FWBVol writes:

I understand CDD and staff aren't as open about things at this point in his stay on the Hill as the coach mentioned in this story.

We had a Junior Day today and it would be nice to have some followup stories to the ones posted last night rather than another story about the former guy.

VolFanFtl writes:

I am actually in total shock that the KNS would print a story like this. First of all, there was nothing news worthy about it. Second, Kiffin stories like this HAVE got to stop.

Dave, what, the UT BB win over UK was too much good news? You had to ruin everyone’s good mood?

You have clearly demonstrated that you have all the necessary qualifications to work for the National Enquirer. As much as I hate to say this, you and this newspaper could learn a lot from the Gainesville Sun. They actually support their local team.

You are really despicable and you have really lost all credibility.

RockyTopBoy writes:

I didn't even read this article cause all I have to say is GET RID OF THESE KIFFIN ARTICLES. Hey Hooker, why don't you move to CA?

jimr07 writes:

in response to VolFanFtl:

I am actually in total shock that the KNS would print a story like this. First of all, there was nothing news worthy about it. Second, Kiffin stories like this HAVE got to stop.

Dave, what, the UT BB win over UK was too much good news? You had to ruin everyone’s good mood?

You have clearly demonstrated that you have all the necessary qualifications to work for the National Enquirer. As much as I hate to say this, you and this newspaper could learn a lot from the Gainesville Sun. They actually support their local team.

You are really despicable and you have really lost all credibility.

The Kiffin love fest continues.

thomastruxtun writes:

a good end to this story would be an anagram of lane kiffin: "fink finale"

bballvol1234 writes:

Dear KNS,
Please take the following personally. This website is a joke. God forbid you take the time to write articles that mean something to UT. Like that fact that the basketball team just beat the #2 team in the country or the baseball team is ahead on oregon st. But, no you continually s*ck lane kiffin off. He can fire Layla cuz you fags are getting it done just fine. I bet Hooker has a spot under kiffins desk like george on seinfeld. This is bull**** and frankly i dont give a damn if you delete the post or cancel my acct. But think about this if we as readers had the right to delete your sh** or cancel your ability to post s*ck a** articles on here you would all have been done a while ago.

Sinccerely,

The UT community that doesn't give a s*** about kiffin

gillblog writes:

"Kiffin all business". And? Is the implication that Dooley is not or that Fulmer wasn't?
What IS the point of this article?

P.S. JH, we here all know too well that the business of Lane Kiffin IS Lane Kiffin.

bballvol1234 writes:

in response to orangeblood5:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

MINE TO BOTH: "Who's the pitcher and who's the catcher? I'm guessing you're the pitcher Ed. Lane is the boss but i see him taking more of the catching role. Please feel free to correct me and email me back. No reply from you will lead me to believe i'm right. Thanks"

AirForceLawVol writes:

I didn't read the story. I just wanted to echo some of the comments above. Kiffin is gone; let it go. He's moved on, why can't you?

If you can't write about our coaches, how about writing about our SEC competitors? At least that would be relevant.

prideofthesouthland writes:

Hooker Sucks!

Murvul_Vol writes:

Enough about Lil’ Lane leaving Tennessee for his “dream job” on the west coast. One of the main reasons Tennessee fans were so upset that he would leave so soon is that we know something he doesn’t: the Tennessee job is as good as the USC job. In fact, it may actually be better if you consider the strength of their respective conferences. And didn’t Lane himself make the remark just after being hired that USC had nothing like Tennessee has in the way of facilities?

Consider the following:

Overall record:
USC 772-306-54 (in the PAC-10)
TN 773-327-53 (in the SEC)

Bowl game appearances:
USC 48
TN 48

I know Lane’s a little too young to remember all that history, so let’s look at the past 30 years.

1980’s: USC 78-36-3; TN 77-37-5
1990’s: USC 68-49-4; TN 98-24-3
2000’s: USC 102-26; TN 83-44

So since 1980, USC's record is 248-111-7 and Tennessee’s is 258-105-8

Maybe Tennessee’s a little down now, but things do tend to run in cycles. Lane’s just too young to know any better.

Jam1Vol writes:

Dave Hooker, you are a JOKE! Get over the man crush.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Should we just flood Hookers email that is posted on this article instead of commenting on this board? I'm just thinking outloud. Is there not anything we can do to make this stop?????
Unbelievable KNS....you need to change your name to LKS....seriously! And no, I do not mean LADYKNOWSSPORTS by that, I mean...Lane Kiffin Site!!!!!!

rockytopatl writes:

Kiffin wouldn't have called Hooker unless he wanted something. He certainly didn't call Hooker because he likes him or owed him a favor. The guess here is that Kiffin got the information he needed.

Meanwhile, all Hooker got out of the call was a story nobody wants to read.

I agree with those who asked why we didn't get a story about Junior Day. Or did the information about Junior Day all go to Kiffin?

nocleats writes:

Hooker, lay back down, Kiffins not through with you yet.

great_2B_Vol writes:

Please KNS, find a decent writer to replace Hooker. It doesn't even have to be someone very good. Maybe you could find someone at the Daily Beacon on UT's campus. Fellow posters, please demand that KNS get rid of Hooker!

gillblog writes:

in response to great_2B_Vol:

Please KNS, find a decent writer to replace Hooker. It doesn't even have to be someone very good. Maybe you could find someone at the Daily Beacon on UT's campus. Fellow posters, please demand that KNS get rid of Hooker!

Agreed, but it's more about his editor than Hooker himself. Demand his editor, whoever he is, goes.

tnsportsman writes:

Hooker you have a MAN CRUSH with the SOB Lame Liar Surfer Dude! I bet you have some nudies of him, LOL. Come on you tell us, LOL.

Probation, Probation, Probation! Please God and NCAA Probation for USC!

Oh Lame, please leak your travel plans to Tennessee, PLEASE!

bballvol1234 writes:

in response to orangeblood5:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

of course man Y wouldn't I they can't do anything for asking a question. BTW Out with Hooker and in with someone that writes about curling...way more interesting than hookers bs.

gillblog writes:

in response to bballvol1234:

of course man Y wouldn't I they can't do anything for asking a question. BTW Out with Hooker and in with someone that writes about curling...way more interesting than hookers bs.

With these Olympics trending so far towards big money and political influences, I personally have developed an abiding appreciation of curling. Despite the 'sweepers', the whole thing seems very Zen.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

This is Hooker's way of saying, okay, if Dooley won't talk to me then I will go talk with Lane Kiffin. Sooner or later CDD and staff will learn that if they don't kneel and kiss the hand of Adams and is minions there will be hell to pay.

chestnutglade writes:

in response to memphis_vol_fan:

Dave Hooker should be fired for this!!! Hey Dave, KIFFIN IS AT USC NOW!! Nobody gives a poop about him anymore. Stop kissing Kiffin's @ss and tell us how UT's junior day went or something.

THANK YOU memphis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

feathersax writes:

in response to Ellison_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who do you troll for: Florida or Carson Newman?

Bloodrunzorange writes:

in response to voodoovol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I second that!! This is pointless s@@t!!

GerryOP writes:

Yah know, I have typically defended the KNS and their coverage of UT sports, but this one goes over the top.

a) Kiffin told us nothing new. We know his recruiting philosophy and we all bought into it a year ago. But now he's gone.

b) We know Kiffin et al can recruit, but he and his buddies have yet to prove that they can coach winning football ... at any level. And that's what it's all about.

c) KNS, all right, we know, Kiffin will talk to you about anything at any time, but Kiffin is no longer associated with UT football. Dooley has come on board and is running a closed shop. Get over it.

Today, Bruce Pearl and the basketVols brought UT a major, major victory. It ranks right up there with the victory over Kansas in January. And you decide to talk about Lane Kiffin ... simply because he will talk to you and Derek Dooley will not.

Most of you guys were denied access to Phillip Fulmer's news circle because you wanted to make the news not simply report it. Don't make the same mistake with Coach Dooley.

Lane Kiffin is gone, deal with it.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Everyone on the basketball board today was asking, "Where is BOK, VolDog25,Tater, Vol Doll"etc....
Well we know Sybil works for KNS and since he was a "no show" after the ballgame...I now know he IS Hooker and was working on this story all day to post to get all the happy Vol fans upset, because Hooker hates CBP and is in love with the Liar! Thanks Hooker for outing yourself, Sybil!

GerryOP writes:

BTW, use proper English in your thread titles. Did you consider, "When it comes to recruiting, Kiffin IS all business?"

Hell no, you were so anxious to let us know that Lane Kiffin is still talking to you that it didn't matter how you said it!

SummittsCourt writes:

it's hard to believe you wrote this phooey and posted it. Do you ever bother to read the posts? It's clear the Vol Nation has spoken. Please do us all a favor and hand in your resignation asap. It's obvious you have a bromance with the weasel boy judging by this article. After this I doubt anyone will read your drivel anymore. I know I want. Lastly, you suck!

USNVOL writes:

in response to Ellison_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks for the post KNS staff.

eefor10c writes:

Face it, hooker is suffering from withdrawal!!Take that any way you like?

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Yah know, I have typically defended the KNS and their coverage of UT sports, but this one goes over the top.

a) Kiffin told us nothing new. We know his recruiting philosophy and we all bought into it a year ago. But now he's gone.

b) We know Kiffin et al can recruit, but he and his buddies have yet to prove that they can coach winning football ... at any level. And that's what it's all about.

c) KNS, all right, we know, Kiffin will talk to you about anything at any time, but Kiffin is no longer associated with UT football. Dooley has come on board and is running a closed shop. Get over it.

Today, Bruce Pearl and the basketVols brought UT a major, major victory. It ranks right up there with the victory over Kansas in January. And you decide to talk about Lane Kiffin ... simply because he will talk to you and Derek Dooley will not.

Most of you guys were denied access to Phillip Fulmer's news circle because you wanted to make the news not simply report it. Don't make the same mistake with Coach Dooley.

Lane Kiffin is gone, deal with it.

Great post GerryOP! I have had ENOUGH myself..but I guess I have made that abundantly clear by now. GBO! Coach Pearl is great!!!!

Ironcity writes:

I think its kind of funny how some of us Vols just go nuts when there is an article on him. I actually enjoy the post more then the article.

GerryOP writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

it's hard to believe you wrote this phooey and posted it. Do you ever bother to read the posts? It's clear the Vol Nation has spoken. Please do us all a favor and hand in your resignation asap. It's obvious you have a bromance with the weasel boy judging by this article. After this I doubt anyone will read your drivel anymore. I know I want. Lastly, you suck!

C'mon Summitt1000, don't hold it back. Tell us how you really feel about Hooker and the KNS!

One of the greatest victories in UT basketball history and Hook and the KNS chooses to tell us that Lane Kiffin is still answering their telephone calls! Big whoop!

USNVOL writes:

in response to voodoovol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey Voodoovol,
This is not a troll,it is a KNS staff trying to drum up a little business,by stirring the #hitpot.

RoadTrip writes:

I think I need to take a Kiffin on Hooker's head.

This guy has a man crush on the Liar surfer dude.

GerryOP writes:

Anybody hearing how the Junior weekend is going? I guess the KNS is taking the approach that "If Lane don't know, nobody needs to know."

BSweet writes:

Dave, your last name is aptly fitting. I think you'd sell your soul to the devil for a twinkie. Can we please move past the Kiffin era or must you continue to pour salt on the wound? It's time to let it go.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

Hooker, VOLS fans don't give a dam about anything that Kiffin does.

charles57#1378642 writes:

Dude is a fair recruiter, but he damn sure can't coach.

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