From dogs to Rolls-Royces, nobody recruits like Lane Kiffin

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Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is perhaps the most elite recruiter in college football history. From Twitter hashtags to Maybachs and Rolls-Royces to Labrador Retriever puppies, there’s hardly a tactic Kiffin hasn’t employed.

It clearly worked, as Kiffin has dominated the transfer portal and has recently brought in top-flight recruits like running back Zach Evans, five-star quarterback Jaxson Dart, tight end Michael Trigg (USC) and wide receiver Malik Heath (Mississippi State). and Jaylon Robinson (UCF) following Ole Miss’ 10-win season, the only regular season the team has recorded double-digit wins.

But make no bones about it: these commitments aren’t just about Kiffin, now calling himself “Portal King.” “Juice,” the yellow Lab puppy from Wildrose Kennels in Oxford, Mississippi, had a heavy hand — or paw — in the process.

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin Matt Corral 2

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin

The dog appears in several photos with recruits and even has its own hashtag. Kiffin and the Ole Miss staff use #ComeToTheSip on social media (which has become more of a #TransferToTheSip movement lately), but Juice has his own: #ComeJoinJuiceInTheSip.

Juice struck a chord with five-star Pittsburg High School quarterback Jaden Rashada. When Rashada released his top seven schools on Tuesday, Ole Miss was on the list alongside LSU, Miami, Florida, Cal, Texas A&M and Oregon.

It’s reasonable to assume that if the signal caller had been recruited from high school by Kiffin instead of former Rebels coaches Hugh Freeze and Phil Longo, Juice would also have influenced former Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. Corral says he’s just “not trying to deal with the destructive power of a breed like a German shepherd or a Siberian husky,” and that he thinks labs are the perfect middle ground.

“He texted me when he got it,” Corral said at the 2022 NFL Draft. “My favorite dog is a Lab. You can never go wrong with a lab. They are good dogs.”

As the photos show, Juice often shows up in a Rolls Royce. However, that will not surpass a Maybach, according to Corral.

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Lane Kiffin

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Lane Kiffin

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Lane Kiffin

“Yes, I saw the video with the Rolls-Royce,” Corral said. “It won’t top the Maybach he put me in [in recruiting]. I wish him and Ole Miss nothing but success.”

In February, Kiffin described what he and his employees were trying to achieve in the transfer portal as “modern” and “innovative”, and that certainly describes what he has achieved here.

“There are certain requirements that you’re trying to meet, and then there’s also the best that’s available,” Kiffin said in February. “The weird thing about this is that it’s not like graduate transfers, which are positions you have to take immediately. It can be a graduate transfer, it can be someone who has four years to play.

“It’s very unique and challenging to figure that out. There’s no evidence of how to do it and what worked, so we’re just trying to be up to date on how we’re doing this and putting our roster together.”

Kiffin’s transfer push is now moving beyond just football prospects, with the manager encouraging musicians like Riley Green and Brett Young to “move to the ‘sip'”.

The key to all of this is that Kiffin maintains a “young” image that allows him to connect and resonate with players he wants to attract in a way no other coach has been able to has achieved.

It’ll be interesting to see what he adds to his long list of unconventional recruiting strategies, but if one thing’s clear, it’s that nobody does it quite like Kiffin.


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