There’s no doubt the Kiffin move was crazy. He didn’t seem to be on anybody’s short-list to fill the Carroll void. Hell, he didn’t even appear on the radar. Oregon State’s coach Mike Riley turned the job down without ever having to say a word. Jack Del Rio had three years left on his contract. And Jeff Fisher, well he was just too comfortable over in good ol’ Tennessee. Lucky for USC, Kiffin didn’t feel the same.
That’s surprising, with the respectable multi-million dollar contract and increasing success Kiffin had in his stint with the Volunteers (he won more games in a single season in Tennessee than he had in a year and a half with the Raiders). And although his coaching success was luke warm, Trojan Athletic Director Mike Garrett’s no fool. With Carroll’s quick departure USC’s top 2010 recruits were left spinning in his wake. The nation’s top receiver and top all purpose back, Kyle Prater and Dillon Baxter respectively, both vocally reconsidered their verbal commitments after Carroll made his plans known. Garrett had to make a move that would bring not just a good coach, but a classy recruiter as well.
Kiffin learned how to recruit from his years under Pete Carroll, and it showed with the Volunteers. While at Tennessee, he drew in an excellent 2010 recruiting class, ranked 7th in the nation by Scout (up from 15th the year before). And it’s a 3-for-1 special. It’s already been reported that Kiffin will bring Ed Orgeron back as associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach for the USC Trojans. Orgeron has been USC’s recruiting coordinator in the past. Years like 2002, 2003 and 2004 where the classes were ranked among the nation’s top 5. In 2004 Orgeron was named the National Recruiter of the Year by The Sporting News and Rivals.com. Furthermore, Kiffin brings back his pappy, Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator, one of the best defensive minds in the country. With guys like Orgeron recruiting and Monte Kiffin coaching, expect USC’s defense to return to glory, outperforming this disappointing 2009 season.
And how will we know when the Kiffin experiment works? It already has if TomahawkNation’s Tweet turns out to be true:
WR Kyle Prater texted and said he loves the USC hire of Kiffin and that he will be enrolling at USC on Monday
Now all the Trojans need is offensive genius. Anybody got Norm Chow’s number? Word is, despite internet rumor to the contrary, he and USC haven’t yet ironed a deal. Chow has said before that it would take NFL level pay to get him to return to the Trojans. I say it’s worth it. We’ll soon find out if Mike Garrett agrees.