Lane Kiffin once told Alshon Jeffery that he would be pumping gas if he decided not to attend Tennessee, so add soothsaying to the things Kiffin can't do.
At some point, we presume, Gaines thought, that Jeffery guy sure isn't pumping gas. If you recall, ESPN.com's Chris Low reported in 2009 that an irate Kiffin chided Jeffery for daring to pick another program.
Jeffery, a high school standout, was deciding between then-Kiffin-led Tennessee, then-Pete Carroll-helmed Southern California and South Carolina.
As we know, the receiver would go on to the Gamecocks to much success, possibly receiving some fuel for his fire from a disgruntled Kiffin, who must have felt jilted at the time. Per Low:
To make a long story short, Jeffery took his visits to South Carolina and Tennessee, and the Trojans never quit recruiting him.
"He tried his best to talk me out of it, but my mind was made up," said Jeffery, who still refers to Carroll as "Pete."
Kiffin was equally dogged. But when it was obvious that Jeffery wasn't going to Tennessee, Kiffin took off the gloves.
According to Jeffrey and (Walter) Wilson, Kiffin told Jeffery that if he chose the Gamecocks, he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players from that state who had gone to South Carolina.
Jeffery was doing his best to stay awake at that point, but that comment from Kiffin woke him up. He clearly hasn't forgotten it, either.
"He said it, but it's not worth talking about," Jeffery said.
Before we continue, let's remind you of this catch Jeffery made Monday night:
In his second season in the NFL, Jeffery is providing more than just the occasional magical reception. So far this season, he has 75 receptions for nearly 1,200 yards and six touchdowns.
Back to Low's report, Wilson—Jeffery's high school coach—chalks up Kiffin's words as a man doing everything he could to win, despite facing a loss in the form of a star recruit slipping through his hands.
That's a nice way of looking at it when you consider Jeffery, a high school teenager at the time, was admonished for simply making a decision that was right by him.
Now if Kiffin really did say such a thing, this is a perfect moment for Jeffery to revisit the story.
Kiffin would make his own big decision to leave Tennessee after just one season with the program, so it's a good thing the receiver didn't tie his future to such capriciousness.
And, of course, Kiffin was recently let go from his subsequent post at USC, getting fired immediately after the team's 62-41 loss to Arizona State earlier this season.
We could finish this thing with some low-hanging-fruit jokes about Kiffin but choose to decline. Life is a stand-up comedian tying things together rather nicely with a brilliant and jarring punch line.
Rather than getting caught on the other side of a "pumping gas" remark, we will simply say that Jeffery is some kind of wonderful, and Kiffin, well, he is something else.
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