If Lane Kiffin wants to revive Tennessee's rivalry with Florida, stealing two committed players on Signing Day and then publicly accusing the Gators of a recruiting violation is a good way to start.
The Backstory: Pahokee, Florida, wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson gave a verbal commitment to the Gators last May and had originally planned to enroll at the university for spring semester, but didn't. Then yesterday at his signing press conference, he picked up a Gator hat ... and dropped it on the ground, replacing it with a Tennessee model. He had never shown interest in any other school until last weekend, when he made a last-gasp visit to Knoxville. I guess he changed his mind. (Ok, I can get on board with Signing Day if more stuff like this happens.)
Naturally, new Vols coach Lane Kiffin couldn't resist the opportunity to needle his SEC rival. (A second Florida recruit, Marsalis Teague, also switched his commitment to UT at the last second.) He told an assembled group of supporters yesterday that Florida coach Urban Meyer was so desperate to keep Nu'Keese in line, that he called him several times while Richardson was in Knoxville ... and yep, that's a recruiting violation.
(There will probably be technicalities regarding Meyer's knowledge of Richardson whereabouts. Kiffin begins by saying that Richardson publicly denied that he was visiting UT and they tried to keep the visit a secret, but other reports say Florida found out anyway and tried to talk him out of it before he even left. But no one gets punished for this crap anyway, and it's not really the point.)
So Kiffin starts his Tennessee career off by stealing two committed Florida recruits and then tries to sell their coach out to the NCAA. Not bad. I think his signoff is the icing on the cake, though.
"I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him"
Oh ... it's on.
Kiffin: "I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him." [C'lay Travis]
Kiffin accuses Meyer of recruiting violation [Volunteer TV]
Richardson, Hosley flip [Sun-Sentinel]
Pahokee's Nu'Keese Richardson switches from Florida to Tennessee [Palm Beach Post]
The last word on Nu'Keese choosing Tennessee [Inside UF]
UPDATE: Florida says Kiffin is an idiot, there is no rule saying that you can't contact a player when he's on another campus, and that in fact Kiffin is the one violating SEC rules by criticizing other schools and coaches. This can only get better. [ESPN]