There are a small number of active college football coaches whose mere personality and opinion drives a story. These are the coaches whose words and actions are picked up and rehashed with impressive frequency. In varying degrees, those coaches are generally agreed upon to be Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh, Mike Leach, Urban Meyer, maybe Bret Bielema ... and Lane Kiffin.
Among other reasons, I'm sure, this is why he was hired as Florida Atlantic's coach.
On Monday, Ryan Bartow of 247Sports tweeted that Kiffin offered a scholarship to quarterback Kaden Martin, the son of USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin. The younger Martin is part of the 2022 recruiting class, meaning he enters eighth grade in the fall.
This is hilariously young to be offering a scholarship for a couple of reasons. For one -- and this is true for all scholarship offers and verbal commitments -- it's non-binding. A verbal pledge made five years in advance of National Signing Day isn't any more worthless than one made two weeks in advance, but it is an insanely long time to ask someone to keep it. Secondly, Martin isn't physically developed enough for Kiffin to make an accurate scouting projection in order to offer.
But, recruiting is about relationships and starting them early can be helpful. Oh, and also Kiffin knows exactly what he's doing.
This isn't the first time Kiffin has offered a middle schooler, nor is it the first time a coach has done this, period. David Sills, now a wide receiver at West Virginia, was 13 when he was offered a scholarship to play quarterback at USC by Kiffin. Sills verbally committed, but now seven years later, he and Kiffin are at two different programs. And, as it so happens, they both took a couple of steps to get there.
The agreement never meant anything, but it was fun offseason fodder for a while. People were talking about Kiffin and USC. Ultimately, Kiffin was known as a better attraction than a coach in L.A. That won't cut it for that program, but it might cut it at FAU.
Kiffin's "exciting" recruiting video? It doesn't matter if he was speaking earnestly or in jest.. So did a ton of other websites. Then, his . It was such a big thing for a minute that the Tennessee Department of Transportation .
His "deep thoughts" tweets? They were covered, too. Of the few recurring storylines this offseason has provided, Kiffin has been one of them. He's an interesting individual -- not to mention a fun play-caller -- and, so far at least, people have indicated they care about what he says and does. Yes, winning is what keeps that interest going, and FAU hired him to win. However, it would be intellectually dishonest to say FAU isn't enjoying some of the side effects.
This is what Kiffin does.
Maybe Martin will eventually sign a NLI with the Owls. Maybe he won't. It may not even matter if Kiffin is coaching somewhere else or Martin pursues baseball. What matters is that it's May 15 and people are reporting on and writing about Florida Atlantic's coach.