Beating the Gators for a prospect in the Sunshine State is as rare as a full solar eclipse, and yet Kiffin has accomplished just that, not once, but twice in four days adding the commitment of wide receiver James Green of Leon High School in Tallahassee on Monday to go with defensive line standout Arthur Jeffery of Booker High School, who committed to the Vols last Thursday.
Kiffin’s achievement is all the more impressive given that Florida is playing for its second national title in three years while Tennessee is home for the holidays for the second time in four years. Green, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, and helps address a glaring need for a big, physical receiver with (4.55) speed.
Green originally committed to South Florida in June but decided to reopen the recruiting process. In fact, Auburn and South Carolina were considered co-leaders at one point. And Green’s commitment to the Vols is another
shot across Steve Spurrier’s bow.
Green began to focus more on Florida and Tennessee in recent weeks and indeed had January visits scheduled in Gainesville as well as to Ole Miss, South Florida and Tennessee. He also had offers from Arkansas, North Carolina, N.C. State, Syracuse, Central Florida, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Mississippi State among others.
In the end it was Kiffin’s vision of a program that was poised to return to its former prominence. Along with the promise of early opportunity to compete for playing time.
"I've always liked Tennessee,” Green told Scout.com earlier this month. “Coach Kiffin has coached some great wide receivers in the NFL. I love their coaches and everything they've told me about the school. Tennessee's staff stands out right now.”
Prior to that statement Green told Scout.com analyst Mike Bakkas: “I've liked Tennessee since I was little. I compare myself to someone named Donte Stallworth, who played receiver there for them. Their players usually leave with a degree and they have great tradition and a great football atmosphere. I've been talking to them a lot lately."
As a junior Green, who is UT’s 17th commitment to date, played at Dr. Krop High School in Miami where he finished with 27 catches for 419 yards and seven touchdown catches. He also scored three special teams TDs.
He transferred to Leon for his senior season and virtually doubled his production with 46 catches for 850 and 11 touchdowns. He is rated three stars by Scout.com and No. 71 at this position.
In a spring game this year played against two opponents for one half each, Green scored two TDs in the first half and caught two passes for 80 yards in the second half. His stock has steadily climbed and his is clearly a prospect coming into his own.
Meanwhile Coach Kiffin is showing he’s his own man and he’s carrying out his duties like a man on a mission.