A moribund program that was, you know, less than a year removed from playing in the SEC championship game when Kiffin was hired. But, no matter, college football's Paris Hilton had to make a scene. And he did, turning the Tennessee job into an extended version of the The Simple Life. When he bolted for USC, Kiffin claimed he no longer needed to capture media attention because the status of the program was so much better. Then, barely one month into the job, Lane Kiffin went all Paris Hilton on us once more: He offered and accepted the commitment of a 13-year-old quarterback David Sills.
For the first time, Kiffin's erratic decision-making has truly crossed over into the mainstream of American culture. Prior to this moment your grandmother might not have known who Kiffin was. Plainly, that wouldn't do. Everyone in all of American life must know who Lane Kiffin is. Prediction, within two years, he's released a sex tape entitled, "In the Fast Lane."
The quarterback in question, David Sills, is a seventh-grader. He is 5-foot-11 and, wait for it, 136 pounds. But, and this is key, doctors have projected that he will be 6-5 when he is fully grown.
I'm not making this up.
Middle school basketball players have previously committed to play for coaches with a screw loose. Such as Kentucky's Billy Gillispie. But offering a seventh-grader you've never seen play in person is a new low. Or, at least it would be if this was not the second time in eight months that Kiffin has been associated with offering and accepting the commitment of a 13-year-old boy. Back in the summer, before he even coached a game at Tennessee, Evan Berry, younger brother of Vols safety Eric Berry, purportedly committed to Kiffin and Tennessee before everyone backtracked.
What's more, the early backlash that arose over the idea that Kiffin would give a scholarship to a 13-year-old also eliminates any thought that Lane Kiffin didn't know how the public would react when he did the same thing with another kid. He knew exactly what the reaction would be. And he did it anyway.
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Let's just say that Lane Kiffin was so blown away by a 13-year-old quarterback that he wanted to offer him a scholarship. Wouldn't it stand to reason that he should tell the boy and the boy's family to keep that commitment quiet?
Of course it would.
But poor Lane, he simply can't help himself. He needs the headlines even if those headlines are all negative.
Channeling Jessie Spano in the 1990 caffeine-pill addiction episode of Saved by the Bell that aired a full decade before Stills was born, the buoyant first-year teenager had this to say to Delaware Online:
"I'm very excited, but I was very, very nervous. It was very cool [to talk to Kiffin] but my heart was beating so fast, and I was scared. But after it was over, I was so excited and pumped."
Doubtless, Kiffin was so excited and pumped as well. Why wouldn't he be? The long offseason of college football wasn't made for the Paris Hilton of college football. Lane had to make a move to keep the headlines rolling.
Pete Carroll was never the type of man not to watch his highlights. Lane Kiffin? He's going to demand that all USC games feature a Kiffin-cam. Get used to this USC fans. I call it the Kiffin factor. Where once you could turn on your iPhones or BlackBerrys in the morning fairly comfortable that nothing extraordinary had happened in the national news associated with your head coach, now you have to wake up every morning with the entire spectrum of football possibilities before you.
Kiffin could have spent the night depositing lit bags of poop on Rick Neuheisel's porch or moved in with Brody Jenner, where he is now negotiating an end to the Cuban embargo with his close personal friend Raul Castro.
Truly, nothing is unexpected.
When you've built your entire career on recruiting and haven't accomplished a single other thing other than winning the genetics lottery of being a famous coach's son, it doesn't matter how old the kids are, you just can't say goodbye to national signing day.
That's why I'm privy to exactly what Kiffin promised 13-year-old David Sills to entice him to join the USC class of 2015.
1. Monte Kiffin gave him his Purple Heart from World War I.
2. Lane connected with Sills thanks to his knowledge of classic cinema. Sills was wowed by Kiffin's expansive knowledge of such films as, "The Matrix Reloaded" and "Old School," released when Stills was a wee pocket passer of 6.
3. Lil Wayne will rap at Sills's senior prom ... in 2015.
4. When Sills hits puberty, Kiffin has already promised him his own pellet gun to rob neighborhood gas stations.
5. The USC song girls got on the phone and performed the newest Trojan cheer, "Dela-Where, Dela-Where, Dela-Where, it will be legal for us to sleep with you in five years."
6. Coach Ed Orgeron promised him a mustache. Told that he could not control the growth of a young boy's facial hair, Coach O. covered the phone and scowled.
"WhennaCoachOsayin' hairdegrow, hairdegrowin'."
7. Was I the only person that immediately thought, this kid must be the illegitimate child of Urban Meyer and Lane Kiffin is just trying to draw attention to him?
8. Kiffin telephoned former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie to ask for tips. Gillispie, reached at his 1 a.m. tee time, had this to say, "By goshhhh, you're the Erwin Rommels of footballs."
9. He overcame Layla Kiffin's dismay over the danger facing the Earth. "Lane," Layla gushed, "everybody knows the world is ending in 2014."
10. You think Kiffin's bad? When Al Davis heard that Kiffin had locked up Sills to play for him, Davis broke his overhead projector. The Oakland Raiders owner had been prepared to name him head coach.
11. Kiffin's crazy like a fox. He told Sills that USC was going to have the death penalty for recruiting improprieties until 2015 and he was just getting a head start on the first actual class that will enroll at USC.