KNOXVILLE – Tennessee is about to finalize an agreement with Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who would be the next head coach of Pruitt the Volunteers, according to multiple reports on Wednesday night.
ESPN reported just before 10 p.m. that the two parties were "in the process of trying to finalize a deal".
National college football journalist Brett McMurphy reported that current Tennessee attendees have been informed to return from recruitment trips in anticipation of Pruitt being announced.
If Pruitt is hired, it would end a nearly one-month saga that began when former Tennessee athletic director John Currie fired Butch Jones on Nov. 1
Since then, Tennessee has tried to hire several coaches and has gone through a transition of athletic director. The saga has made Tennessee a national success.
Still, Pruitt would bring an impressive record to Knoxville. The 43-year-old native of Rainsville, Alabama, has designed the nation's second-best defense this season after his 2016 Crimson Tide defense was ranked first nationally. Alabama is playing in the college football playoff. It is unclear if Pruitt would stay with the Crimson Tide in his postseason.
Pruitt's first defensive campus coordinator job came in 2013 when he was hired in the state of Florida. The Seminoles won the national championship and took third place in the country in total defense under his leadership.
Just eight days after the national title of the state of Florida, Pruitt surprised many when he took the position of defensive coordinator in Georgia under former Bulldogs coach Mark Richt, replacing Todd Grantham. Georgia ranked 17th nationally in total defense under Pruitt's guidance in 2014, as the Bulldogs scored a 10-3 record. The defense improved to seventh nationally in 2015, when Georgia again won 10-3.
Richt was fired at the end of the year, but Pruitt landed in a familiar place and could be said to have a better job.
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart took over as head coach in Georgia, and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban called Pruitt to Tuscaloosa to replace Smart as defensive coordinator.
Saban even hired before the semifinal college football game of Crimson Tide 2015.
When it's not a piece of cake, I do not know if there's a process, "Saban said at the time." What does it mean? no-brainer & # 39; for you? I will define it – there was no doubt about who I was going to hire. I did not interview anyone I did not talk to anyone. I just hired the guy. .
"He worked here for six years, maybe he should have called some people to find out how good he was and get some recommendations."
When Saban took the job from Alabama in 2007, he hired Pruitt to be the director of player development at Hoover High School. Pruitt was originally from Rainsville, Alabama, 60 miles southwest of the state of Florida. Chattanooga He played for his father, Dale Pruitt, at Plainview High School and drove Plainview to a pair of state finals in 1991 and 1992.
From there, Pruitt played two seasons at Middle Tennessee State before being transferred to Alabama and playing for Gene Stallings as defensive defense.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in Alabama in 1997 and worked as an assistant to his father in Plainview, a staff stop in Division 2 West Alabama. and a few years at Fort Payne High School before going to Hoover in 2004.
The Hoover High School football program became the theme of MTV's "Two-A-Days" program that followed the team during the seasons 2005 and 2006. The show featured Pruitt, who was the defensive coordinator at that time.
Pruitt and his wife, Casey, have a son named Ridge. Pruitt also has a son named Jayse who is a backup marshal in the state of Jacksonville.
Dale Pruitt is now the coach at Albertville High School, which is about 90 miles southwest of Chattanooga.
Contact David Cobb at dcobb @ timesfreepress.com.