- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
With Lane Kiffin serving as the head coach, the USC Trojans didn't need to make a splashy wide receivers coach hire. Kiffin keeps a close watch over the position during practices and has more experience coaching that particular position than any other.
With Ed Orgeron and Monte Kiffin on the staff, the USC Trojans didn't need to add a dynamic recruiting personality that could tap into the rich Southeast recruiting ground. Orgeron has roots in Louisiana and Mississippi, and Kiffin is still a big brand name in Florida.
But the USC Trojans found a way to do both on Wednesday night, hiring former Kentucky passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Tee Martin as the new wide receivers coach.
In his first year at Kentucky, Martin helped turn Randall Cobb into a second-round NFL draft pick and Chris Matthews into the SEC's touchdown reception leader. After that one year as wide receivers coach, he was given the title of passing game coordinator. After only two years of coaching at Kentucky and three in college football, Martin was regarded as one of the top recruiters in the conference and could be on his way to earning that designation for the entire country.
"Tee has such a relatable personality to young people in today's recruiting world," said Tom Luginbill, ESPN's Senior National Recruiting Analyst. "He has a great feel for how kids are communicating nowadays and what approach to take with each prospect's recruitment."
Kiffin first went after UCLA coach Eric Yarber, who has very strong ties to the Los Angeles area, but Martin will likely help in a very different region. With at least five early USC offers in the state of Georgia, Martin could be put to work quickly.
"His background recruiting the state of Georgia alone is very strong," Luginbill said. "His roots, knowledge of the landscape and relationships already established in the Southeast only opens more doors for USC's national profile in recruiting in an area that can supplement the already talent-rich base of California."
On the field, Martin will be charged with tending to a prolific wide receiver duo in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. It should be interesting to monitor how Martin relates to each star, and who steps into the third and fourth wide receiver spots.
When Martin was signed to a contract extension at Kentucky a little more than a year ago, head coach Joker Phillips heaped praise on the young coach.
"He has great communication skills and he has a passion for this game," Phillips said. "He is a relentless recruiter, but I don't want him labeled as a recruiter. He is also a great scheme guy who understands protections from playing quarterback and route combinations. Tee Martin can coach any position on our team."
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