When Butch Jones took over at the head man on Rocky Top, the media was quick to ask if he would bring Tee Martin in to join his staff, citing the BCS champion quarterback’s history with the Tennessee Vols, and igniting rumors of Martin’s departure from USC.
Friday night, Go Vols Xtra reported that T.J. Weist would accompany Jones from Cincinnati, as he was the Bearcats’ wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. Since Martin has been a wide receivers coach in his two stops at Kentucky and USC, it would suggest that a link between Martin and Jones could be for another role, such as offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach.
The draw to have Martin on the staff is too much to have him strictly as a wide receivers coach, due to his strong ties to the recruiting trail in the west Appalachians, where he is targeted as USC’s recruiting coordinator for the northern sprawl of SEC country.
The result has been commitments from 5-star defensive back Jalen Ramsey and 4-star defensive end Jason Hatcher, out of Nashville and Louisville, respectively. Both were strongly tied to Tennessee before donning cardinal and gold caps, and both claim that their relationship with Tee Martin is strong, especially after his in-home visits to the two blue chips last week.
If Martin were in fact to head to Knoxville to join the Tennessee staff, Ramsey and Hatcher would immediately become targets for the Vols.
As we saw last year with Tosh Lupoi grabbing Cal commits like Shaq Thompson and bringing them to Washington, the relationship between a recruiter and a recruit can be strong enough to override the bond between the would-be position coach and the recruit.
In USC’s case, with defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin departing, a loss to Tee Martin would double the effect on Ramsey, whom the Trojans would have to sure up with recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron or defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders.