Kiffin Knows No Bounds

There appears to be no better example of Lane Kiffin's no-retreat, always-compete football philosophy than Lane Kiffin himself, as he is currently leading by example in the raging recruiting wars and saving Tennessee's Class of 2009 in the process.

It remains to be seen how successful he will be in that endeavor but he has most of his staff in place now and he's building to big finish with nine visits already on tap for the Jan. 30 weekend that precedes national signing day. Included in that group are Marvelous Marlon Brown, Terrific Trent Richardson, Awesome Orson Charles and Monstrous Marcus Hall.

That's the nation's No. 4 wide receiver, No. 4 running back, No. 4 tight end and No. 2 offensive tackle respectively. Hall, Richardson and Brown are five-star talents who could provide instant offense next fall. Charles is a four-star prospect who checks in at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds with 4.50 speed.

Richardson, is from Tampa, Fla., while Charles is from Pensacola, Fla. James Green is another Florida prospects who will be on hand. The Tallahassee talent was the second player KIffin committed after coming aboard. His willingness to go after big names in the Sunshine State that the Vols hadn't recruited before this late in the process says a lot about his tenacity, audacity and confidence. The fact he's having success in securing visits says even more about his ability to translate that confidence when he's selling the program to high profile prospects.

Putting together a stellar staff underscores his capacity to translate his vision to men immersed in the game down to the cellular level. That's impressive as an achievement and it gives credibility to his ability to do what he sets out to do. The very best prospects have an abundance of options, and most will get some playing time wherever they go. That being the case many are looking for places where they can compete for and win championships.

That being the case Kiffin has a tough sell playing in the same six-team division as Florida. However he turns a disadvantage into an advantage when points out the opportunity to play against the Gators every year. An opportunity to play for the team that challenges Florida and Georgia for supremacy in the SEC East.

In order to do that he realizes he needs to get on the same diet as the Gators which means combing the Sunshine State for cruisers and bruisers. His decision to retain Stan Drayton is largely due to his experience and success recruiting the fertile recruiting fields of Florida. Monte Kiffin's long association with Tampa Bay gives the Vols name recognition in the Bay and throughout the panhandle.

Kiffin has also made headway in talent-rich southern states of Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, MIssissippi and South Carolina. He's also ranging into Ohio to interest a couple of prospects — Hall and safety Mike Edwards — from a high profile Glennville High School in Cleveland which has served as a Big Ten football factory over the years, particularly for the home-state Buckeyes. Getting one of these premier prospects (Edwards is the nation's No. 19 ranked cornerback, Hall is the No. 2 offensive tackle), would greatly enhance UT's chances of landing both, but they can't be described as a package deal.

This weekend the Vols are hosting Janzen Jackson, 6-1, 185, 4.44 of Lake Charles, La. He has visits slated for both LSU and Alabama and received a recent visit from Tiger DC John Chavis. He is listed as a soft commitment to LSU, but staff changes opened the window of opportunity for UT to make a move.

Next weekend the Vols are scheduled to host No. 4 offensive guard Peter White of St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound space maker goes to the same school that produced starting linebacker RIco McCoy.

On Jan. 23, the Vols host three prospects SEC East state in No. 9 tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen of Marietta, Ga., No. 22 wide receiver Ashlon Jeffrey of St. Matthews, S.C. and No. 18 offensive guard Quinton Washington of Saint Stephen, S.C.

It all builds to a crescendo on the final visit weekend of the recruiting campaign when the Vols bring in five star prospects Brown, Hall and Richardson along four-star talents Charles along with wide receivers Randall Carroll of Los Angles who is ranked No. 9 nationally and Chad Bumphis who is from Tupelo, Miss., and ranked No. 23. Both players are deep threats.

Others slated to be in town for that last official visit are No. 21 weak side linebacker Derrick Webb, of Memphis Melrose, No. 33 strong side linebacker Tim Simon of Cordova, Ala., who at 6-foot-2, 200, 4.6 is excellent in coverage and a player who fits Monte Kiffin's scheme to a T. Finally there is Macon, Miss., wide receiver Pat Patterson, 6-2, 210, 4.60

Kiffkin looks to be setting up conditions to trigger a blue chip stampede and perhaps a fantastic finish to his first Big Orange recruiting campaign.


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