Tennessee hires Jeremy Pruit as new head coach

Jeremy Pruitt Alabama

TODAY Sports

He will honor our university's values, operate with integrity and be a role model for our student-athletes... From naming his youngest son after two Tide linebackers - Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson - to serving as a father figure for a lot of players on this year's team, Saban and company did not want to see Pruitt accept a head coach position at Tennessee yet business is business.

Two years later, Pruitt joined the Tide coaching staff as a graduate assistant. "That's a high bar that was set, but I think player development, which will be much better, is more important and Pruitt should have a leg up there".

Pruitt's hiring at Tennessee ends a lengthy, and rather embarrassing, coaching search. He started his collegiate career at Middle Tennessee before transferring to Alabama as a defensive back in 1995. In 2007, he would become a defensive assistant under Nick Saban. I would temper expectations on the field as some people expect a Kirby Smart turnaround because of the similarities (defensive coordinator coming from Alabama staying in SEC with no head coaching experience) because he doesn't have the same roster to work with, but recruiting should go well.

Pruitt can net $300,000 for winning the SEC Championship game and an additional $500,000 if he leads the Volunteers to a national championship. Over the years, Pruitt has managed to land an all-star list of commitments for Alabama, Georgia and Florida State from the likes of RB Derrick Henry, RB T.J. Yeldon, DB Jalen Ramsey, LB Dylan Moses, DE Lorenzo Carter, LB Mack Wilson, LB Reggie Ragland, LB Roquan Smith, LB Ryan Anderson, LB C.J. Mosley and OL Alphonse Taylor. In 2014, Georgia finish top 20 nationally in scoring defense, pass defense and total defense. Fair has been with Colorado State since 2015 where he's helped the Rams' secondary have success.

Alabama topped the nation in run defense last season and ranks third in that category this year.

According to Low, Pruitt is expected to remain on Alabama's staff through the College Football Playoff.

Pruitt won three national championships (2009, 2011 and 2012) while at Alabama. Pruitt and Sherrer also coached together at Hoover High School from 2005-06 when Pruitt served as the defensive coordinator and Sheerer as a defensive assistant.

Pruitt and fellow defensive coordinators Kevin Steele of Auburn and Mel Tucker of Georgia were considered finalists for the job, which has been open since Tennessee fired Butch Jones on November 12. In five years as Tennessee's head coach, Jones was 34-27 and 14-24 in conference play.

BC-FBC-Tennessee-Pruitt, 3rd Ld-Writethru, 723 Tennessee hires Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt as coachAP Photo ALTUS201, ALBIN301, ALBIN302, ALBIN303, ALBIN304Eds: Adds contract terms. Fulmer took over for John Currie, who was suspended just eight months into the job as Tennessee investigates whether it can fire him for cause.

Fulmer was subsequently named Currie's replacement as athletics director.

This evening's press conference to introduce Pruitt will be held in the Peyton Manning locker room of Neyland Stadium.

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