"This is the same thing people said three years ago (when Tebow was a high school senior)," the Vol coach said. "I loved him on film and I loved watching him work out. But people said the same things: 'His motion's a little bit funny. He's good in high school but he's probably going to have to play fullback in college.'
"I said, 'I don't know what you guys see; I think he's great.' Does he throw a perfect spiral all the time? No. So what? There's a lot of guys that don't. The guy's a winner and he's a dominant player."
Tebow certainly has been a dominant player at the collegiate level. He helped guide Florida to the national title in 2006, won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and was the backbone of the team that won the BCS title again in 2008.
Based on the above, Kiffin figures Tebow deserves all of the accolades he is getting as he prepares for his senior season in Gainesville.
"I read somewhere that he's potentially the best college football player ever," the Vol coach said. "If he does it again this year - keeps playing like that - that's probably the right statement.
"I think he'll be a great NFL quarterback. I'm sure there'll be nine million articles written about how he can't play quarterback in the NFL and he'll go there and win a Super Bowl there."
One of the most remarkable aspects of Tebow is his character. He's modest. He devotes a good portion of his free time to counseling children and helping the disadvantaged. He's all about the team. He's even cordial and cooperative with the media.
"I think Tim is obviously a great player but he's a great person," Kiffin said. "I recruited him out of high school. His parents came out (to Southern Cal) and I spent a whole weekend with Tim and Bob....
"I knew back then that, no matter where he went, he was going to win a ton of games because of his presence. He has a superstar presence and a confidence about him."
Unless Kiffin misses his guess, that superstar presence and confidence will carry Tebow to success at the next level, as well.