Kiffin's departure already having impact on Vols recruiting class
Lane Kiffin is leaving Tennessee to succeed Pete Carroll as the Trojans coach
Brandon Willis, a four-star DE, appears to be re-opening his commitment
USC has replaced departed football coach Pete Carroll with Tennessee's Lane Kiffin, USC announced late Tuesday.
Kiffin, who served as an assistant under Carroll from 2001-06 before leaving to become the Oakland Raiders head coach, is leaving after one tumultuous season at Tennessee that saw him enrage his fellow SEC coaches, draw the ire of the NCAA and upgrade Tennessee's talent base. Kiffin will bring his father, Volunteers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, and defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron with him. Orgeron served in those roles at USC under Carroll. He left USC after the 2004 season to become the head coach at Ole Miss.
Kiffin was scheduled to meet with Tennessee players at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday to break the news.
Gary Willis, the father of Tennessee recruit Brandon Willis, had planned to drive his son from Duncan, S.C., to Knoxville, Tenn., on Tuesday night so Brandon could begin classes on Wednesday. "We won't be going to Tennessee now," the elder Willis said.
Willis had narrowed his choices to UCLA, North Carolina and Tennessee. He announced his commitment to Tennessee during Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. The elder Willis said the family had spoken to UCLA and North Carolina coaches on Tuesday night after Kiffin news broke. Had Willis set foot in a class at Tennessee, he would have had to obtain a waiver from the NCAA to transfer without sitting out a year. "I'm glad it happened when it happened," Gary Willis said. "It could have been a real mess."
Brandon Willis was one of the Byrnes High football players at the center of the NCAAs investigation into Tennessee's use of its recruiting hostess program. Two hostesses were photographed by SI.com with Willis and teammate Corey Miller, another Tennessee recruit after Byrnes beat Gaffney High on Sept. 25. The NCAA is trying to determine whether the hostesses acted on their own or if they were directed to attend the game by a member of Tennessees coaching staff.
USC has NCAA issues of its own. The NCAA has completed its investigation into allegations of improper benefits received by former Trojan Reggie Bush from a marketing company hoping to sign him as a client and allegations that former basketball coach Tim Floyd paid an agent runner to secure the services of guard O.J. Mayo.
Monday, Yahoo! Sports reported that the NCAA's Committee on Infractions will meet Feb. 19-21 to determine what, if any, punishment USC would receive.
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