Lane Kiffin says Tennessee’s infamous shirt-ripping stunt on Junior Day was “the best story you could ever have” for recruiting football players to Rocky Top.
The topless tactic was perhaps the most creative and most bizarre recruiting strategy in SEC football history. Tennessee had many of the nation’s top 2010 prospects on campus, and the Volunteers went to extreme measures to make sure they remembered the trip, as reported by the AJC. [Click here for a full recap].
Kiffin talked extensively about the benefits of the controversial method to CBSsports. ”It’s the best story you could ever have. You can’t get all these recruits on your campus. You’ve got to convince them to take an official visit. What better way when they read about this.”
“We had numerous kids the next day [say] this was the best junior day I was ever at. They had a blast. They said, ‘These coaches are so intense, so high energy. You can tell they’re going to win here. Tennessee is at the top of my list now.’”
Kiffin says he kept his clothes on for the Feb. 28 adventure. It was Tennessee’s assistant coaches that ripped their shirts off, WWE style. They sprinted with several Tennessee players, including All-America defensive back Eric Berry, and the junior prospects to the front of the room to form a moshpit. They jumped up and down together, while hollering and screaming “U-T, Wild Boys. U-T, Wild Boys. U-T, Wild Boys.” Loganville tailback Storm Johnson said things got so crunk that “even the podium got knocked over.”
There were mixed emotions among the prospects, but many seemed to like it. “It was awesome,” Brookstone tight end Brian Vogler said. “I didn’t know how to react at first. I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, these people are crazy.’ Then after talking to them later in the day, I realized that’s just their style. That’s how they go.”