I’m all in on Jeremy Pruitt. When this coaching search began, he wasn’t my first choice. He wasn’t my second or even my third choice. But he checks almost all of the boxes, and because he took the job, we know he wants to be here.
If you hate the hire, blame Haslam, Currie, Davenport or Fulmer. But for now, as orange-blooded Tennessee fans, let’s give this coach, this staff, and the players, our full undivided support.
Almost as important as the hire itself, if not more so, is Pruitt’s staff. Will he be able to assemble a high quality group of experienced and capable coaches? So far, the answer looks to be yes.
Here’s what the potential staff looks like so far:
OC: Tyson Helton (USC QB Coach/Pass Game Coordinator) Link1
DC: Kevin Sherrer (Georgia OLB Coach) Link1
RB: Robert Gillespie (current Tennessee RB coach) Link1
OL: Will Friend (Colorado State OC/OL Coach) Link1
DL: Chris Rumph (Florida DL Coach) Link1
DL: Tracy Rocker (Former Georgia/Auburn DL Coach) Link1
DB: Terry Fair (Colorado State DB Coach) Link1
Brian Niedermeyer Alabama assistant director of player personnel Link1
Other Notes from Thursday
- According to Pruitt’s MOU, he’ll be paid $3.8 million per year for six years. There are also several incentives which could increase his annual package up as much as $1.2 million per year. His buyout, if he were to leave Tennessee, starts at $6 million and decreases by $1 million per year. If he’s fired without cause, Tennessee would owe him 60% of his remaining contract.
- The rock was fully dressed for Pruitt’s press conference yesterday. That dark background is fresh, if you ask me.
- “After working with him for a week, Phillip Fulmer is the most dedicated Volunteer I’ve ever met,” Beverly Davenport said yesterday at the press conference. High praise for Fulmer, also possible very telling about others that she’s met. Both Davenport and Fulmer seemed genuinely excited about the hire.
- I know some are concerned about hiring a coach with Alabama ties, but I loved this quote from Pruitt: “My name is on this program now. It starts with me. It all goes through me. I’m responsible for this.”
- Another interesting point from Pruitt that I hadn’t thought of. He was at Alabama when Saban took over (he called it ‘ground zero’), so he knows how to begin rebuilding a program.
- Bruce Feldman announced that Georgia outside linebacker coach Kevin Sherrer is expected to join Pruitt’s staff as defensive coordinator. Tracy Rocker and Chris Rumph are also expected to join that defensive staff.
- While everyone has been panicking over this early signing period, Pruitt didn’t seem nervous about it at all. He needs to figure out what we have, what we have committed, and what we need, before worrying about who to get. He doesn’t want to sign someone who doesn’t fit said we should worry about the ones we get, not the ones we don’t.
- Pruitt did a one-on-one exclusive interview with Rick Russo yesterday and this comment stuck out to me: “I’ve only been here for a few hours, but walking through the facilities, the facilities are unbelievable. It should be really easy to recruit to. I’ve never seen a place that looks like this.” Forum discussion.
- Paul Finebaum’s take: “Credit Phillip Fulmer for bringing the Vol family back together & hiring Jeremy Pruitt. A very positive first impression for the new @Vol_Football Head Coach”
- Lane Kiffin’s take on the hire: “Go win it all. Congrats Jeremy. Home run hire!!!”
- Chris Low is confident that working for someone like Phillip Fulmer won’t be an issue for Pruitt: “Jeremy Pruitt told me last year he had no problem checking his ego at the door when it came to being Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator. He feels similarly about working for Phillip Fulmer and doing it at a place Fulmer knows inside out and won championships at as a head coach.”
- Former Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop is heading to Mississippi State.
Vols Football Recruiting
- On the recruiting front, prospects took notice, too. D’Andre Litaker: “Let’s ride” | Greg Emerson: “Let’s gettt ittt OV At UT this weekend 731➡️865 ” | Dorian Gerald: “Good talks with Coach Pruitt! #GoVols”
- Alontae Taylor included Tennessee in his top three yesterday.
- Brandon Cross is visiting Tennessee this weekend.
- According to Jesse Simonton, Tennessee will likely ‘take big swings’ at 5-star OL Cade Mays, 4-star DE Jordan Davis (Bama commit), 4-star OL Jerome Carvin, 4-star WR Alontae Taylor.
- Pruitt isn’t wasting any time getting offers out. He has already offered top 5 JUCO offensive lineman Jahmir Johnson. According to Brian Dohn of 247Sports, “Tennessee just offered JUCO OT Jahmir Johnson. He is visiting Arkansas this weekend and has three visits left. He is a February signee, so there is plenty of time for the Vols to get involved.” [player thread: ’18 JUCO OL Jahmir Johnson]
- Tennessee offered Auburn commit Coynis Miller. [player thread: ’18 AL DE Coynis Miller]
- Tennessee offered 4-star BYU commit Brandon Kaho.
- Tennessee offered 4-star AL DE Andres Fox. He’s taking visits to Alabama and LSU. The Vols are trying to get one of his final two officals. [player thread: ’18 AL DE Andres Fox]
- Tennessee offered Greg Bell, the No. 5 JUCO RB in the nation.
- Tennessee offered No. 1 rated JUCO tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson.