Today is the big day for Jesse Scroggins. Well, at least he is believed to be ready to commit to a university some time this afternoon. As everyone knows, Scroggins will be choosing between USC, Tennessee, and Florida. Sorry to ruin the surprise for you, but he's definitely going to be a Trojan.
He has been a USC-lean for a while now, but still wanted to visit UT and UF last week...a few days before making his decision public. Well, he never made it out to Knoxville or Gainesville. In addition to that small hint that he may just care about USC now, Lane Kiffin practically came out and told the public yesterday that the Vols won't be landing the coveted QB.
As everyone now knows, Lane Kiffin loves attention. Whether it's attention for landing a solid recruit, or attention for talking smack, he just loves it. If Kiffin felt confident about landing Scroggins, he may have just let that be the positive media coverage for the team this week. Instead, as a preemptive strike to Scroggins turning him down, he launched a big "Eric Berry for Heisman" campaign. I've got to give it to him that this Eric Berry circus is a little impressive, still, it reeks of desperation. While watching him announce the campaign yesterday, the words I really heard coming from his mouth were, "please don't be mad at me tomorrow when we realize that we have completely screwed up this QB-search."
As a Tennessee fan, I've supported Kiffin after almost everything he's done so far. Now, it seems more and more like it's about time to push that big red panic button.
I assummed he knew what he was doing when he told '09 recruits Tahj Boyd and Bryce Petty to hit the bricks. It was obvious that he wanted to bring in "his own" QB to take over the reigns when Jonathan Crompton finally graduates.
That's about when he started showing love for Jake Heaps and Blake Bell. He figured, if we don't get Heaps, maybe we'll get Bell since he and Bryce Brown are from the same town. "Maybe we'll have an in with that guy through Brown", he probably thought. Heaps committed to BYU, and Bell is going to be a Sooner. That's when we started looking into Jesse Scroggins and Andrew Hendrix. Hendrix committed to Notre Dame, and a whole heck of a lot of time has been wasted on Scroggins. Tommy Rees and Barry Brunetti were even targeted by Kiffin and this staff of supposedly amazing recruiters. Rees is also headed to Notre Dame, and Brunetti (an in-state guy) is headed to West Virginia. Then, they finally got the memo about Chase Rettig's talent, but it was too late. He had set his heart on Boston College, and it was another swing-and-a-miss for the Vols. Scroggins officially was the last hope for this staff in landing a good QB recruit for 2010.
Not only did this staff fail to land a solid recruit, they also managed to lose a great QB from the roster. BJ Coleman was the guy David Cutcliffe (QB genius) liked more than the others when he left Tennessee for Duke. Now, Coleman is going down to UTC...because Kiffin didn't have the foresight to realize that he should treat this guy well enough to keep him on the team while we look for someone else.
So, it looks like the Vols will be stuck with Nick Stephens and (Juco transfer) Nick Lamaison for 2010. Lamaison had some good Juco numbers, I just find it strange that North Dakota State was the only other school to offer him a scholarship. I'm sure the staff will keep pushing to get one of the guys they've already missed out on, but things don't look good. I expect them now to go after Garrett Grayson from Washington. He seems like an okay recruit, I just really don't want to get turned down by another west coast kid.
It really is starting to get embarrassing. I wish we could somehow go back in time and either keep Tahj Boyd, or at least BJ Coleman. I saw that Boyd might even be able to compete for the job at Clemson THIS year.
I do expect Kiffin to win 7-8 games this year, but the real problem will be 2010, when we lose quite a bit of experience on the team. I love the Vols, and truly want to support the coaching staff. Just, this QB thing is extremely frustrating. It's getting more and more difficult to make up excuses for Coach Kiffin.
I realize how ridiculous this article will look if by some form of magic, Scroggins picks Tennessee. However, I feel so sure of myself that I'm willing to take the risk.