Posted: 3:38 pm Monday, April 5th, 2010

Lane Kiffin still keeping an eye on Palm Beach County 

By Jason Lieser

Lane Kiffin is 2,700 miles away from South Florida, but that does not mean he is finished recruiting Palm Beach County.

Lane Kiffin just can't quit you, Palm Beach County. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Lane Kiffin just can't quit you, Palm Beach County. (Jae C. Hong/AP)


Kiffin targeted Palm Beach County during his year as Tennessee’s coach, though the only recruit he landed was Pahokee receiver Nu’Keese Richardson in 2009. (Richardson later was arrested for attempted armed robbery and kicked off the team).

In January, Kiffin left the Volunteers to take the head job at Southern California, leading many to believe he was done cruising through Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Considering his new location, it seems unlikely that Kiffin will travel east of Texas very often, but he said he still plans to compete for the top prospects in Palm Beach County.

“Very selectively, but we won’t be down there as much as when we were at Tennessee,” he said by phone Friday. “At Tennessee we needed to go down a lot more. But we will, from time to time, come down again.”

Rivals.com reported that Southern California has offered a scholarship to Glades Central wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (6-6, 215, No. 3 on The Big Board), but there are no other known Trojans recruits in the area.

Under former coach Pete Carroll, Southern California tried for a handful of local players over the past few seasons, but rarely convinced them to make an official visit. Treasure Coast linebacker Jeff Luc, a Florida State signee, visited Southern California last fall, but never sounded like he seriously considered it as a destination. The Trojans also were in the hunt for former Palm Beach Central linebacker Jon Bostic in 2008, but he never visited and ultimately signed with the Florida Gators.

“You want to find somebody that has something in common with here — maybe they lived out here at one point or something,” Kiffin said. “We don’t just go down there covering the whole (South Florida) area, but from time to time we will go for specific players.”

Kiffin had an up-and-down relationship with Palm Beach County during his time at Tennessee. After reeling in Richardson a year ago, he made derogatory remarks toward the town of Pahokee and irritated some with his verbal jabs at Florida coach Urban Meyer. He offered scholarships to several of the area’s top recruits last year — including Matt Elam, Chris Dunkley, Robert Clark, Luc, Antonio Ford — but was unable to secure a commitment.