published Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Ooltewah star feels 'betrayed' by Kiffin

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."

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 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 nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...

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hcirehttae said...

"Show me the money!"

January 13, 2010 at 5:31 a.m.
stillamoc said...

Could UT-Chattanooga be an option? Two former UT players BJ Coleman and Chris Donald think so. We would love to watch Jacques Smith play college ball right here in Chattanooga!

January 13, 2010 at 8:23 a.m.
signalmtnman said...

Don't let Kiffin's betrayal turn you against your own home state university. You were headed to UT before Kiffin and it's obvious his leaving now is better for the program long term. Keep leading this 2010 class like you've done all year and make your home state proud. Show Kiffin and those dirty liars it's not about them - it's about the University of Tennessee Volunteers.

Orgeron contacting you guys right now and telling you not to go to class should be proof enough they cannot be trusted. Think back to the day before and the day before that and remember what they told you then and now look up and see where they are.

Jacques you are one of the guys to carry this program back - not Kiffin - stick with it and help get it back on top.

January 13, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.
mea1286 said...

Although, I am not a Vol fan, I do feel very bad for UT's recruiting class. I certainly, understand why they would feel betrayed. Except, of course, the ones Kiffin is planning to take to USC with him (heard that on ESPN, not sure how accurate, but wouldn't doubt it). I think Lane Kiffin has absolutely no class.

I think it is really unfortunate, the pressure put on these young athletes, like Jacques. I can't imagine having to make such a huge decision at the age of 17 or 18; needing to do what's best for you and your future, while worrying about disappointing all of the UT fans, and your fans. I think it is important for Jacques's fellow Chattanoogans to be supportive of his decision no matter what he decides. Afterall, he is just a kid, not even a true college freshman (since he graduated high school a semester early), and feeling like everyone is looking at him and expecting him to carry a recruiting class, a team, or a program is a lot of responsibility. If he does decide to stay, I have no doubt he can do it and become a great assest for the Vols, but if he decides that being somewhere else is better for him, he shouldn't feel like he is letting anyone down. I think he is a really smart guy, and will make the best decision possible, with the help of his family. I am keeping him in my prayers as he makes his decision.

January 13, 2010 at 10:47 a.m.
signalmtnman said...

My comments were not intended to put undue pressure on Smith, but to encourage him and show him he has support. I completely understand how unfair this is to him and all the other recruits, but UT is still UT and it is Kiffin who turned his back on the program and players. I think Smith is a smart, strong leader with a lot of character - just what the Vols need now and in the future.

January 13, 2010 at 11:49 a.m.
nurseforjustice said...

I think that all of these post are very encouraging for this intellegent young man. I am glad he is trying to seek wise counsel regarding this monumental decision from his mother and grandma.

January 13, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.
WEBMAN said...

KIFFINS DEPARTURE IS PAYBACK FOR HOW TN HANDLED THE PHIL FULMER SITUATION.HA HA HA I BET THEY WISH FULMER WAS STILL THERE.

January 13, 2010 at 3:19 p.m.
WEBMAN said...

I LOVE IT.I LOVE IT.I LOVE IT.I AM A BIG TN FAN,BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING.BOUT TIME FOR A NEW A.D. WHILE WE ARE SEARCHING FOR A NEW FOOTBALL COACH.(KILL 2 BIRDS WITH ONE STONE)

January 13, 2010 at 3:26 p.m.
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