Now, everybody knows what Lane Kiffin was so mad about.
Alshon Jeffery was just another highly-ranked recruit when ESPN reported that then-Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin, who was only beginning to alienate the entire SEC, told Jeffery that he would end up pumping gas if he went to South Carolina. Kiffin denied the story, and Jeffery signed with the Gamecocks in any case.
The story has only become more plausible since then, and not because Kiffin has burnished his credentials for saying outlandish things. Jeffery has shown that he was worth doing anything a coach could to make him reconsider his decision. Through his first five games with South Carolina in 2009, Jeffery had five catches for 61 yards. In the last eight games of that season, though, he went on a tear -- grabbing 41 balls for 702 yards and five of his six touchdowns that year.
It was a warm-up act for 2010, when Jeffery piled up 1,517 receving yards and nine touchdowns on 88 catches en route to becoming a Biletnikoff finalist. The wideout had eight 100-yard games, including 192 yards in South Carolina's first game against Auburn -- the fourth-best total in program history -- and 127 in the season-defining win against Alabama. Jeffery fell short of 75 yards receiving in just three games; South Carolina lost two of those.
The only question for Jeffery this year is just how much attention he's going to get. He could be a fringe Heisman candidate; he will almost certainly be one of the front-runners for the Biletnikoff. And at the end of the year, he will simply be waiting to find out which team will draft him and how much money they'll pay to sign him. Indications are that he'll make enough money to hire someone to pump his gas for him.
|Alshon Jeffery, 2009-10|