Breaking: Tee Martin has declined the Tennessee Job.— TN Sports Radio (@TNSportsRadio) December 11, 2012
The rumors had been swirling that USC receivers coach Tee Martin was being wooed by the University of Tennessee. Today those rumors became a reality when Martin confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that he's considering an offer from the school.
Former Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones was recently named the new head coach at Tennessee after Derek Dooley's dismissal, and Jones has reached out to Martin, the former Tennessee Volunteer quarterback who led his team to a 1998 national championship.
"That's where I went to school, that's my alma mater, that's always home for me,” Martin said last week, when asked by The Times "about the possibility of hearing from Tennessee."
If Martin did leave for Tennessee, then it probably wouldn't be because of the money being thrown at him—USC can probably match Tennessee's offer easily. An opportunity to advance more quickly through the ranks or to go back home may appeal to Martin more than the financial aspects, and that's where USC may come up short.
Martin's potential departure would have some far-reaching effects.
Trojan receiver Robert Woods is currently mulling over whether or not he should declare for the NFL draft. He has asked to be evaluated and hasn't heard back yet from the draft advisory board, but if Martin leaves, that may exacerbate the situation and propel him to declare for the NFL draft.
Receiver Marqise Lee finished fourth in this year's Heisman votes and will certainly be a 2013 Heisman front runner alongside Texas A&M quarterback and 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, but Martin's absence would undoubtedly affect Lee's growth as a receiver.
The fact that both Woods and Lee are two of college football's best receivers is not a fluke—Tee Martin's coaching and mentoring has paid huge dividends. In fact, USC's current recruiting class of 2013—ranked No. 5 on Scout.com—has two receiver commits in Steven Mitchell and Sebastian LaRue, both 4-star prospects.
For what it's worth—and this may be worth a lot—LaRue received an offer from Tennessee. So did Mitchell. If Martin decided to take the coaching job at Tennessee, the likelihood of USC's 2013 recruiting class taking another big hit with both Mitchell and LaRue decommitting can't be overlooked.
USC has already lost Max Redfield's commitment—Redfield is the seventh-ranked safety in the class of 2013 and has shown interest in Notre Dame after decommitting from USC in early November. Just recently, 5-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, a USC commit, decided to take some official visits to other schools.
Will Tee Martin stay at USC or go to Tennessee?
The perception of USC's recruiting class standing on some shaky ground is conducive for other schools' recruiters to swoop in and make their pitches. Martin, if he decides to go back to Knoxville, may start a domino effect with Trojan commits.
Whatever Martin decides, his decision will affect USC. If he stays, the receivers will keep coming to USC. If he leaves, more receivers may want to seriously check out Knoxville, Tennessee. Martin is a tremendous asset to any football program, and his success at USC is proof of that.
When I talked to Martin at the Trojans' spring game this year, he was enjoying the weather and all the amenities the Los Angeles area offers. His beautiful wife Toya was expecting their second child (Cannon), and Tee looked very happy. So did Toya. And a happy wife equals a happy life.
But it's good to be in high demand. It's also usually good to be home.
If Tennessee lands Martin, Vol Nation will finally exact some revenge on USC.
And for the orange-and-white-clad fans still seething over Lane Kiffin's hasty departure from Tennessee three years ago, that's also...a very good thing.