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USC coach Lane Kiffin lures top recruit from old Tennessee haunts

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Updated: November 2, 2012 6:17AM

Another reason to throw your arms around Lane Kiffin — as tough as it might be for some people, especially in a Tennessee ZIP code — ­is that he’s a master recruiter.

With the Trojans working under what will be the final season of NCAA scholarship sanctions, the 2013 class that Kiffin is putting together could be his best recruiting job yet. Not only has Kiffin landed 12 of the ESPN Top 150, but they have commitments from three players ranked in the top 18, including 6-5, 214-pound quarterback Max Browne, who’s considered the second-best quarterback in the class.

The true evil genius of Kiffin, however? He already has a commitment from one of the better cornerbacks in the country in Jalen Ramsey. The same Jalen Ramsey who is considered one of the top players in Tennessee.

One season in Tennessee for Kiffin, one sneaky departure, leaving the program in chaos and student riots on campus, and now he lands one of the better players in the state. Got to love Kiffin.

As far as other programs who have made early statements in the ’13 recruiting class, Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, LSU, Florida and Texas are putting together top 10 classes, with Florida State, Texas A&M and Clemson inching their way into that top tier.

If the Big Ten season were to end today, not only would we all be better for it, but the Big Ten title game would be Northwestern against Purdue.

“The U’’ has a deep history of quarterback play, but the single-season record for passing yards now belongs to quarterback Stephen Morris, who lit up N.C. State for 566 on Saturday. The “Convicts vs. Catholics’’ game at Soldier Field between the ’Canes and Irish on Saturday just got a little more interesting.

LSU’s schedule the next month? At Florida, home to South Carolina, at Texas A&M, home to ’Bama. Life in the SEC.

Players of the week

QB Geno Smith, West Virginia: All the leading Heisman Trophy candidate did was throw for eight touchdowns and 656 yards in the victory against Baylor. Throw in 31 yards rushing just for giggles.

 LB Michael Mauti, Penn State: Pub for any Penn State player is hard to do, but Mauti was great in the victory against Illinois. Two picks and a half-sack for the senior linebacker.

Big number

88.2 Completion percentage for West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Not impressed? It came on 51 passes attempted. For the season, Smith has an 84.1 completion rate.

Key games Saturday

Georgia at South Carolina, 6 p.m., ESPN: The winner of this game takes early control of the SEC East … only to eventually meet Alabama in the SEC title game and get pummeled.

LSU at Florida, 2:30 p.m., Ch. 2: Time to see if the Gators are for real or are only good enough to beat teams such as Tennessee and Texas A&M. Playtime is over.

  West Virginia at Texas, 6 p.m., Fox-32: The Mountaineers wanted out of the Big East for higher-profile games in the Big 12. Well, they got one. There will be a convoy of pickups headed for Austin this week.

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