UT Vols to introduce Jeremy Pruitt as next head football coach

Legendary Hoover coach Rush Propst on expected Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt: 'I think he's ready.'

The Volunteers are finalizing a deal to make Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt their next head football coach, ESPN's Chris Low reported Thursday night, citing sources.

Pruitt, who has never been a head coach before, interviewed with new Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer twice this week and quickly emerged as a favorite once Fulmer took control of the coaching search. After that, he served as the defensive coordinator at Florida State for one season, and spent two seasons as Georgia's defensive coordinator before returning to Alabama in 2016. Following a successful run with the Tide that included two national championships, Florida State hired Pruitt away in 2013 and they claimed the national title. Last year, Pruitt's defense led the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 13 points per game. Pruitt is now the fifth-highest paid assistant in the country, making $1.3 million a year.

December 7 marked the end of a college football coaching search that even the most creative minds could not cook up. "He will do a great job at Tennessee and we wish him the best".

The story began to pick up steam when Tennessee appeared to have hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.

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Reports linked Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and Purdue's Jeff Brohm to Tennessee's vacancy, but both stayed with their teams. Then Tennessee went after Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm, but it's unclear if there was any truth to that, so the next coach in line was N.C. State's Dave Doeren who also turned down the job. The Tide are the fourth seed this year.

Born in Rainsville, Alabama, Pruitt has lived and worked in the southeast for most of his life. In fact, according to a list of salaries released by USA Today earlier this year, he would actually rank No. 73 among college head coaches.

FILE - In this March 23, 2016, file photo, Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt works with players during NCAA college football practice in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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