NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Mississippi

Lane Kiffin has decided to remain at Ole Miss and sign an extension with the Rebels, the coach confirmed Saturday morning. Kiffin's decision comes amid a heavy pursuit of him by Auburn, which has been attempting to fill its coaching vacancy since firing Bryan Harsin on Oct. 31.

"I had a meeting with the team and the staff and told them I was staying and it would be announced after the game," Kiffin told ESPN, referring to No. 22 Ole Miss' 24-22 loss to Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. "I didn't want it to be about me staying before the game but about the team."

Rumors swirled regarding Kiffin's candidacy for the Auburn job. They became louder than whispers leading into the Egg Bowl, but Kiffin publicly denied a local television report that stated he would be announced as the Tigers coach on Friday, even going so far as to publicly shame the reporter for incorrect information.

"I just told [the team] that that report -- that probably you're not paying much attention to but your family is -- is inaccurate. False reporting," Kiffin said.

Kiffin has accepted multiple contract extensions already in his career at Ole Miss. He entered 2022 as the 11th-highest paid coach in college football with a contract that averaged $7.25 million. The value of his extension has not yet been announced; however, Sports Illustrated reports Kiffin is expected to earn more than $9 million annually.

As for Auburn, it has moved on from Kiffin and is eyeing Liberty's Hugh Freeze to take over its vacancy. Freeze was 39-25 (including vacated wins) at Ole Miss from 2012-16, beating Alabama in 2014 and 2015.

What are the biggest takeaways?

Lane will continue to stock the roster

The sour taste left in the mouths of Rebels fans after Kiffin's questionable clock management in the waning moments of the Egg Bowl will be washed away relatively quickly knowing that he has transformed this team into a destination program, especially among players in the transfer portal. 

Just take a look at the impact players he has lured to Ole Miss through the transfer portal. Starting quarterback Jaxson Dart was a part-time starter at USC before taking over the Rebels, running back Zach Evans was a former blue-chip recruit who transferred to Ole Miss from TCU prior to the 2022 season, defensive end Jared Ivey joined the Rebels from Georgia Tech and Malik Heath moved across the state from Mississippi State.

It isn't the Xs and Os, it's the Jimmys and the Joes. Now that Kiffin has even more stability, that recruiting effort will likely bring in even more talent to the program.

Continued quarterback development

Kiffin has had success developing quarterbacks throughout his entire career, including this year with Dart. Prior to Dart, Matt Corral evolved as one of the most dangerous players in the country last season. Corral earned second-team All-SEC honors behind Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young after throwing for 3,349 yards, rushing for 614 yards and accounting for 31 touchdowns.

Chris Robison threw for 3,701 yards in 2019, Kiffin's last season at FAU, and led the Owls to the Conference USA title. He was part of three straight SEC championship teams at Alabama with three different starting quarterbacks -- Blake Sims (2014), Jake Coker (2015) and Jalen Hurts (2016) -- and won a national title with Coker at the helm. Matt Barkley topped the 3,000-yard mark in two of Kiffin's full seasons at USC, and Jonathan Crompton tossed 27 touchdowns and threw for 2,800 yards at Tennessee in 2009.

Simply put, Kiffin has been successful grooming star quarterbacks for more than a decade, and that will only continue now that he's locked down in Oxford.