Kingsport Times-News: Reports: Vols nearing deal with Alabama D coordinator Pruitt

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Reports: Vols nearing deal with Alabama D coordinator Pruitt

Staff reports • Dec 7, 2017 at 6:54 AM

According to multiple media reports, the University of Tennessee has offered their head football coaching position to current Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, and a deal could become official today.

ESPN reports that Tennessee expects to announce the move at a Thursday press conference.

Pruitt reportedly possesses two of the qualities that Phillip Fulmer — Tennessee's former coach and recently appointed athletic director — put a premium on during his search: a tough-minded defensive presence and a proven track record as a recruiter.

If Pruitt is hired, it brings an end a tumultuous and embarrassing coaching search. Tennessee fired Butch Jones last month and was close to hiring Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano last Sunday. That deal fell through amid a public backlash. Athletic Director John Currie spent the next several days interviewing potential candidates for the job, but was fired late last week and Fulmer was installed to the position.

As for Pruitt, the Chattanooga Times Free Press says he'll bring an impressive track record to Knoxville. The 43-year-old has engineered the nation's second-best defense this season after his 2016 Crimson Tide defense was ranked first nationally.

Pruitt's first collegiate defensive coordinator job came in 2013, when he was hired at Florida State. The Seminoles won the national championship and ranked third in the country in total defense under his leadership. He also previously served at Georgia, where the Bulldogs ranked 17th nationally in total defense under his direction in 2014, then improved to seventh nationally in 2015 .

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