Kiffin won't 'actively recruit' UT commits

He upset thousands of Tennessee fans Tuesday night by resigning as head football coach to accept the reins at Southern Cal, but Lane Kiffin says he won't compound their pain by trying to steal any of the Vols' commitments.

Kiffin literally had one foot out the door of the UT football complex when I ran into him earlier today. After giving a one-minute public statement confirming his resignation last night, he graciously spent several minutes today answering questions from three of us media types who happened to be passing through the football complex as he was leaving it.

Naturally, one of the key questions concerned whether he will try to redirect any of Tennessee's commitments toward Southern Cal. He says he already assured UT athletics director Mike Hamilton that he will not do so.

"Here's where I am on that," he said. "I told Mike this: I'm not going to call any recruits here that are committed to Tennessee. If a recruit and their family decide they don't want to go to Tennessee and they make that public - they want to come check us (USC) out - then I'm going to do that, like anybody would. But I will not actively recruit any players that are coming here until they reach out to us."

There are widespread reports that outgoing UT recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron suggested to several of the Vols' mid-term enrollees that they not show up for class today, in order that they may keep their college options open. The outgoing head coach said that was not the case.

"I was told of that as a possibility last night by a couple of our players that were upset in the team room," Kiffin said. "I assured them that I had nothing to do with that. I called Ed, who told me he did have some parents call him and say, 'What would the interest be out there?' and 'Would you call my son?' That's where that went. The timing of it was not very good because I walked into a team meeting right after some of that happened, I guess."

Regardless, Kiffin insists he won't try to lure any prospect to USC who already is committed to Tennessee.

"I will not do that, and don't need to," he said. "We won't even recruit any of the same kids anymore."

Orgeron and Monte Kiffin, Lane's dad, already are under contract to join him at Southern Cal. Clearly, USC's new head man is moving quickly.

"Every job has a different plan," he said, noting that when he assumed control at Tennessee last Dec. 1, "I was coming here from the NFL and didn't know any of the recruits that were out there. I couldn't get Ed and Monte in here because they were still finishing up NFL seasons, so I had to work a little bit faster, and I didn't know anything about it. Ed and I can go in there (USC) right now and we know their whole class. We know almost all of the kids they need to get.... It's a lot easier transition."

In addition to Orgeron and Monte Kiffin, Lane Kiffin says he may try to hire more assistants off of his 2009 Vol staff, noting: "There are still a number of guys here that are in my thought process."

Kiffin also will consider holdovers from the 2009 USC staff of Pete Carroll, recently named head coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

"Pete's taken a couple," Kiffin noted. "I'm going to evaluate the guys that are there but not make any quick decisions."

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Kiffin's thoughts on the negative reaction of UT players, students and fans to his resignation will be featured in a separate story. It should be posted by 5 o'clock.)

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