South Carolina’s annual game against Tennessee is shaping up to have more storylines to it than usual, thanks to the war of words that continues from new Vols coach Lane Kiffin.
In an article this week by ESPN.com’s Chris Low about the recruiting of top S.C. prospect Alshon Jeffery, Low reported that according to Jeffery and his Calhoun County football coach Walt Wilson, “Kiffin told Jeffrey that if he chose the Gamecocks, he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players from that state who had gone to South Carolina.”
Jeffery chose USC over Tennessee and Southern Cal, something that apparently wasn’t going to sit well with Kiffin. According to Low’s article, Calhoun coach Wilson said he wasn’t offended by the remark and that “one of the things I do know about South Carolina is that they take care of their own.”
The exchange is a hot topic on sports blogs and USC message boards.
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It’s the latest time Kiffin has been in the news for unsavory reasons. UT has reported three secondary recruiting violatoins involving Kiffin, who’s slated to make $2 million a year. He’s also had verbal spats with USC coach Steve Spurrier and Florida coach Urban Meyer, including accusing Meyer of a recruiting violation, something that drew a reprimand from the SEC.
Kiffin’s arrival in Tennessee had an immediate impact on USC. Former Gamecocks recruiting coordinator David Reaves, Kiffin’s brother-in-law, joined Tennessee’s staff as quarterbacks coach. Former USC strength coach Mark Smith also joined the Vols staff.
Kiffin’s comments about Jeffery weren’t the first shots UT has taken at South Carolina in the recruiting war. USC freshman running back Jarvis Giles in late December said negative recruiting helped convince him to become a Gamecock.
Tennessee opens spring practice on Tuesday. The Gamecocks play the Vols on Oct. 31 in Knoxville. USC players and fans will be ready.