The timing of Lane Kiffin's decision to leave the University of Tennessee for Southern Cal came at a bad time for the Volunteers' recruiting class. Included among UT's prized commitments who now must decide whether to reopen their recruitment is former Ooltewah High defensive end Jacques Smith.
Smith was scheduled to begin classes at UT today but has decided to put off enrolling to allow time to discuss his future with his family.
"Right now you can say I'm undecided," Smith said moments after leaving the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex, where Kiffin broke the news to the team. "I'm going to stay up late tonight thinking. I've got to talk to my mom and grandma and see what we think is best for me.
"This is a huge decision because it's the next four years of my life, so I have to be smart about it."
Smith said he learned of Kiffin's decision less than two hours before the team meeting through television reports.
"When I found out about it, I felt betrayed," Smith said. "When (Kiffin) was talking, I didn't even want to hear what he had to say. I was just mad.
"That's why I can't really say what I'll do right now. I've spoken with a few other recruits, and it's safe to say they're all pretty upset."
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...