Tennessee Finalizes Deal With Jeremy Pruitt

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Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has been hired as the next coach at Tennessee.

Tennessee is hiring Pruitt after their search failed to land big names such as Gary Patterson, Chris Petersen and Mike Gundy.

Pruitt's success this season is particularly impressive given how hard Alabama's defense has been hit by injuries. Former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart remained with the Crimson Tide for its entire championship season in 2015 despite taking the head coaching job at Georgia. He will continue to coach Alabama through the College Football Playoff. Alabama will meet Clemson in the Sugar Bowl in one national semifinal game on January 1. As an assistant coach, he has been a part of four national championship teams.

BC-FBC-Tennessee-Pruitt, 3rd Ld-Writethru, 723 Tennessee hires Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt as coachAP Photo ALTUS201, ALBIN301, ALBIN302, ALBIN303, ALBIN304Eds: Adds contract terms.

Alabama ranks No. 2 in the nation in total defense, allowing just 257.8 yards per game this season.

Left out of playoff, Ohio State gets USC in Cotton Bowl
While making the actual four team playoff would have been nice, this is still a solid way for both teams to end their season. Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans have landed in the Cotton Bowl 2017 and will face off against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Pruitt was a high school coach for a decade before returning to his alma mater in 2007 to work under Nick Saban, where he was the director of player development until 2012. Prior to leading Alabama's defense, Pruitt was the defensive coordinator at Georgia (2014-15) and Florida State (2013).

Considering how awful this search has gone for the Vols, I think the hire of Pruitt is a home run. Pruitt is now the fifth-highest paid assistant in the country, making $1.3 million a year. He is viewed as one of the Crimson Tide's top recruiters and was named Rivals Recruiter of the Year during 2010 while serving as the defensive line coach at California. Currie also flirted with Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm and N.C. State's Dave Doeren and Washington State's Mike Leach before being replaced by Fulmer. That means he will basically be working two jobs, game planning for the Tigers while also recruiting and putting together a coaching staff at Tennessee.

"Six days ago, I mentioned several attributes that I sought to find in the next leader of our football program, and Coach Pruitt meets all criteria" Vols athletic director Phillip Fulmer said in a news release.

At long last, the mother of all coaching searches is over. He was also a Broyles Award finalist in 2016.