The most bizarre coaching search in modern college football history is over, Tennessee has finally found a coach to take over on Rocky Top in Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
While the Vols did not land a sitting head coach, you’d be hard-pressed to find a 43-year-old assistant that has had as much success as Pruitt on the collegiate level. He’s been a part of three national championship staffs, two as a defensive back coach at Alabama in 2011 and 2012 and one as the defensive coordinator at Florida State in 2013.
Jimmy Hyams of WNML in Knoxville was the first to report that the deal between Tennessee and Pruitt was done:
Breaking news: Tennessee’s deal with Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt is done, according to multiple sources. We reported last night that Pruitt had accepted Tennessee’s offer. Expect a press conference later today
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) December 7, 2017
Pruitt has twice been a Frank Broyles Finalist, given annually to the nation’s best assistant coach, in 2013 with FSU and again in 2016 with Alabama. Pruitt is one of only six coaches to be a finalist for the award at two different schools.
Most known for his knowledge of the defensive secondary, Pruitt was responsible for coaching defensive backs from 2007-2015 at Alabama, Florida State, and Georgia before returning to Tuscaloosa to serve as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator over the last two seasons. Pruitt was hired after Kirby Smart took the head coaching position at Georgia. It took less than a week for Pruitt to land the DC job in Tuscaloosa.
“There was no doubt who I was going to hire. Didn’t interview anybody. Didn’t talk to anybody. Just hired the guy,” Saban said soon after hiring Pruitt.
During his time in Athens, Pruitt inherited the 60th ranked pass defense in the nation. In his first season, the Bulldogs would finish ranked No. 5 in the nation. In his second season, UGA finished No. 1 in that category.
Of course, a crucial aspect of the job on Rocky Top is recruiting. Pruitt’s pretty good at that, too.
247Sports named Jeremy Pruitt Recruiter of the Year in 2012 and 2013. Over the years, he’s managed to land several premier prospects for his schools including five-star prospects RB Derrick Henry, RB T.J. Yeldon, DB Jalen Ramsey, LB Dylan Moses, DE Lorenzo Carter, LB Mack Wilson, OL Alex Leatherwood, DE LaBryan Ray as well as four-stars LB Reggie Ragland, LB Roquan Smith, LB Ryan Anderson, LB C.J. Mosley, DB Nigel Knott, OL Alphonse Taylor.
Source: Saturday Down South