“That’s the world that we’re in.”

Sure, we’ve all heard the story of Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie offering a scholly to a ninth grader, but did you know that there’s an SEC football coach who’s done the same thing?

Raise your hand if you’re surprised.

… Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer said most coaches agree it doesn’t look ethical to recruit someone 14 or 15 years old, but he won’t shy away from it.

“It’s almost like everybody else is, so you have to,” Fulmer said. “That’s the world we live in. Ninth-grader is a stretch, but recruiting sophomores is real. That’s where we are.”

Fulmer said he once offered a scholarship to a ninth-grader, offensive lineman Jeff Smith, who became an All-SEC standout en route to a standout NFL career.

“I kidded Jeff that he came to our summer camp so many years that we owed him a scholarship,” Fulmer said. “When he was in the ninth grade, he was 6-3, 280 pounds. He could run, move his feet and was a good person. So I offered him…”

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