- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
USC head coach Lane Kiffin has done an unbelievable job stockpiling talent at the wide receiver position. From All-America candidates Robert Woods and Marqise Lee to true freshmen Nelson Agholor and Darreus Rogers, this group can go toe-to-toe with any in the country. But Kiffin may have saved his best recruiting pitch for a guy who will be at all the receiver meetings and won't catch a single pass this season.
Two Sundays ago, the USC Trojans sat without a receivers coach and Kentucky passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Tee Martin sat in church.
"My grandmother raised me to know that God answers prayers," Martin said with a smile. "I had just walked out of church when I got the text message that Coach Kiffin wanted to interview me. I had just prayed about some things and it happened that fast."
It has been little more than a week since Martin was approached by Kiffin, and it's tough to tell whether it feels much longer or much shorter for USC's new receivers coach. But it's definitely been hectic.
"It's been a whirlwind," Martin said. "It happened really fast. I landed here on Monday and then in just over a week, it was getting offered the job, flying out, interviewing, flying back home, then flying back with the family, and now doing all the paperwork and everything that needs to be done to make it official."
Tuesday was the first chance for Martin to be around the team, as the Trojans ran through a conditioning drill with the coaches. It is still early in the process as Martin acclimates himself to the group, but he said it didn't take long to get the pulse of the team.
"I'm looking forward to working with this team," he said. "From what I've seen, it's a very cohesive group. It's one of those teams where you can feel something good is going on. I've been there before and it kind of feels like that."
One of the intriguing subplots to Kiffin reaching out to Martin was that their histories with Tennessee bridge just about the widest chasm possible. It seemed surreal that Kiffin, quite comfortably the most disliked figure in Knoxville, would be able to win over Martin, who quarterbacked the Volunteers to a national championship in 1998 and has been on the coaching wish list of every Tennessee fan for the past few years.
"I knew about the USC football tradition and the players who have been here before, but I didn't know about it in-depth and throughout the process, those are the questions I need to ask to make me feel comfortable," Martin said of the interview process. "Coach Kiffin did a great job. We became friends over the last few days. I had spoken with him a few times in the past, but we weren't constant friends. But he allowed me to open up and he did the same, and I felt comfortable enough to say, 'Hey, let's do it.'"
Martin will likely become the envy of every position coach on the roster, as he takes over a loaded group of receivers. He is well-versed in the exploits of the group last season and said he is looking forward to seeing what they can do in 2012.
"It's a blessing," he said of his roster of players. "We all know that great players make coaches better and our job is to push them someplace where the can't go themselves. The thing about coming into a situation where they're already good is that you don't want to mess them up. I just have to play my role of motivating these guys to do the right things the right way and we'll see what happens."
7dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller