Long Tennessee coach search will end with Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt

NCAAF     Kirby Smart on DC interviewing at UT 'Mel’s going to make a great head coach one day'

Not long after reports surfaced that Tennessee had offered Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt the position, more reports came out that Pruitt had accepted the offer and was finalizing the deal. Under Pruitt Alabama gave up an average of 11.5 points a game this season and 11.8 points last season. He was defensive coordinator at Florida State in 2013 when the Seminoles won a national championship. That was his first job in major college football after spending the previous seven years as a high school assistant coach. He's the sixth former Saban assistant to take a head coaching position in the SEC, following Dooley, Will Muschamp, Jimbo Fisher, Jim McElwain and Kirby Smart. Last year, Pruitt's defense led the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 13 points per game.

Not surprisingly, Pruitt took what was already an elite Alabama defense under Smart and helped it maintain its standing.

He named his son, born in May, after former Alabama linebackers Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster. He has yet to be a head coach at the college level, so there's obviously the question as to whether he can succeed in the role. A deal fell apart, though, when fans, the media and even Tennessee politicians reacted negatively to the choice, with some citing Schiano's tenuous links to the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State. Less than a week after having the full-time job, Fulmer appears to have his coach.

Pruitt's hiring would put an end to a saga that looked set to end in November with Ohio State coordinator Greg Schiano becoming the new man in charge of the program.

The 43-year-old Pruitt has twice been a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to Division I-FBS' top assistant coach, and has spent many years under Nick Saban at Alabama.

UT officials has made multiple attempts to offer the job, but have yet to have someone accept it. Phillip Fulmer became the acting athletic director in place of John Currie amid during the search.

Although Pruitt isn't the home-run hire some Vols fans will have wanted, he should have Tennessee headed in the right direction in 2018.

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