Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin denied telling a recruit that he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life, like everyone who played for South Carolina, if he attended that school, ESPN reported Tuesday.
"I never said that to Alshon, nor would I say anything like that," Kiffin said, ESPN reported. "That's just not something I would say."
Alshon Jeffrey, who committed to South Carolina, said Kiffin told him that on Feb. 3, the eve of signing day, ESPN reported. Jeffrey's high school coach, Walter Wilson, also said he heard Kiffin say that, ESPN reported.
"He said it, but it's not worth talking about," Jeffrey said, ESPN reported.
Kiffin said he didn't want to be known as a negative recruiter, ESPN reported.
"That's not the way we're going to do things here, and it's something I don't condone," Kiffin said, ESPN reported. "Things get said all the time in recruiting, but I don't know where (the pumping gas comment) came from."
Kiffin and USC coach Pete Carroll both furiously tried to sway Jeffery from attending South Carolina, calling him until 3 a.m., ESPN reported. He had committed early on to the Trojans before switching to the Gamecocks, ESPN reported.
Jeffery stayed in a hotel with his high school coach in Orangeburg, S.C., on the eve of signing day to stay away from the hype, ESPN reported.
Wilson also heard Kiffin's comments on speaker phone but wasn't as upset, ESPN reported.
"It was his last resort. That's all it was," Wilson said, ESPN reported. "When you get pushed against the wall and your back is there, you're going to come out with something. You should have heard coach Carroll. He was wide awake at 3 o'clock in the morning. Remember, he was on West Coast time and fighting to get Alshon to the very end.
"But the war was over at that point." Jeffery, who went to high school in St. Matthews, S.C., is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver and is ranked 12th nationally by Scouts Inc., ESPN reported.
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