Tennessee hires Jeremy Pruitt to be Vols 26th head football coach

Tennessee now looking to pluck away one of Nick Saban’s top assistants

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Per ESPN's Mark Schlabach, Georgia outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer could be a replacement for Pruitt, if and when he becomes Tennessee's coach. He replaces Butch Jones, who was sacked after going 34-27 overall and 14-24 in SEC play in five seasons in Knoxville. "I'm certain he appreciates the unique opportunity to lead a program of Tennessee's caliber".

At Alabama, Pruitt had an annual salary of $1.3 million in 2017. Alabama shut out Michigan State, 38-0, in the semifinals, and although Smart's defense allowed 40 points to Clemson in the title game, the Crimson Tide won, 45-40, behind a strong offensive performance. Prior to leading Alabama's defense, Pruitt was the defensive coordinator at Georgia (2014-15) and Florida State (2013).

From 2000 to 2006, Pruitt was a highly respected defensive coordinator throughout the state of Alabama at Plainview, Fort Payne and Hoover High School. He worked an initial stint on Alabama's staff from 2007-12, when he helped the Crimson Tide win national titles in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

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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.

The Rainsville, Alabama native was a finalist for the 2013 and 2016 Broyles Award, given each year to the best college football assistant coach. Once word leaked that Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano had been tabbed for the job, an outcry from alumni, fans, former players and politicians ultimately squashed the deal. Copeland wasn't even on the radar of the previous Tennessee staff, but as soon as it was announced Pruitt had landed the job, things changed in a hurry for the top-ranked receiver from the Sunshine State.

Reports linked Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and Purdue's Jeff Brohm to Tennessee's vacancy, but both stayed with their teams.

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Pruitt inherits a Tennessee program that is seeking to return to the prominence it enjoyed in the 1990s and early 2000s under Fulmer.

At long last, the mother of all coaching searches is over.

Tennessee opened this season in the AP Top 25 but ended up winless in SEC competition for the first time since the league formed in 1933.

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