Vols not done yet

Lane Kiffin's first National Signing Day news conference is finished but his first signing class as Tennessee's head football coach may not be.

Twice while discussing the Vols' 2009 haul the new head man noted that he and his assistants are not done just yet.

"I don't think this class is over," he said. "I think you've got another big surprise coming here pretty quick."

If that enticing tidbit didn't thoroughly intrigue every member of the Vol Nation, Kiffin's next comment surely did.

"There's already been a message sent," he said, "and I think there's going to be a bigger one sent pretty soon."

Kiffin returned to this theme moments later in response to a question about his top recruiting priority for the 2010 class.

"We've got a little bit of an idea but this class is not finalized," he replied. "It may not be finalized for a couple of weeks. Before we come out with exactly what that is (top recruiting priority for 2010) we've got to see exactly what happens in this class. I feel good about something happening in the near future with this class, as well."

Introduced as UT's head coach Dec. 1, Kiffin has been on the job just two months. Many of his staffers have been around one month or less. Still, the Vols managed to turn a couple of players who had been firmly committed to arch-rival FloridaMarsalis Teague and Nu'Keese Richardson.

"Our full staff has been here less than three weeks, and I'm very excited about our staff," Kiffin said. "They set a standard for how hard we're going to work ... that we're not worried about where a kid's committed or how far behind we are. I think that showed in the final result."

The new coach couldn't help gloating a bit about prying Richardson (Pahokee, Fla.) and Teague (Paris, Tenn.) away from the Gators. He noted that Florida was Richardson's only official visit until his recent tour of UT and recalled that Teague told Vol coaches he was "100 percent committed to Florida" at one time.

The long odds didn't faze UT recruiters. As Kiffin noted: "We didn't stop (recruiting them)."

Tennessee also managed to work an eleventh-hour miracle on celebrated defensive back Darren Myles of Atlanta.

"A month ago we were not in his top five," Kiffin recalled. "He was not going to visit us. But our coaches just kept going after him and kept competing.

"The theme of our program is competing, and I don't know what better example we could have than the way our guys competed (on the recruiting trail)."

Although encouraged by the ground Tennessee made up after a late start, Kiffin vowed that future classes will be far superior to the Vols' 2009 class.

"Understand that this class is far below the standards we have here and what will be here in the future," the new boss said. "But, for the time frame that we had we're very excited about the way it ended up."

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