Tennessee hires Jeremy Pruitt as next head coach


After a well-publicized circus search, the Volunteers hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on Thursday, per multiple VolQuest.com sources.

ESPN reported that Pruitt "plans to stay on as Alabama's defensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff, while pulling double duty as the Vols' head coach and spearheading their recruiting efforts and putting together his staff at Tennessee". From 2014-15, Pruitt coordinated the No. 7 and No. 17 overall defense in the country while at Georgia.

Pruitt is in his second season as Alabama's defensive coordinator after two years in the same position at Georgia. However, he left prior to Alabama's appearance in the national championship game against Clemson.

During Pruitt's time as an assistant coach, he's been part of three championship teams (Florida State in 2013, Alabama in 2011-12).

Pruitt reportedly sold Fulmer and Tennessee on his ability to build a great staff.

That's an annual package worth $3.8 million.

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Alabama ranks No. 2 in the nation in total defense, allowing just 257.8 yards per game this season. His first major college break came in 2007, when Nick Saban hired him to be Alabama's director of player development.

The Rainsville, Alabama native was a finalist for the 2013 and 2016 Broyles Award, given each year to the best college football assistant coach. The former Hoover head coach tells of a game in the 2004 season when Pruitt - then the special teams coordinator - game-planned a pair of schemes that directly led to blocked punts. Currie also flirted with Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm and N.C. State's Dave Doeren and Washington State's Mike Leach before being replaced by Fulmer.

We've seen these kind of hires work out greatly for some, including defending national champion Clemson with Dabo Swinney, but fail other times.

At long last, the mother of all coaching searches is over. Pruitt, who is the fourth Saban assistant to become an SEC head coach, is also regarded as one of the top recruiters in the conference.

According to reports, the Vols had a deal in place to make the Ohio State coordinator their next head coach, but backed out at the last minute amid on-campus and social media protests against Schiano over his alleged role in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.