There was no early signing period at that time and the program Smart was inheriting from Mark Richt was on much more stable footings than what the next Vols' head coach will take over.
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. Florida State's national title-winning defensive coorrdinator in 2013, Pruitt has held the same job with Georgia (2014-15) and Alabama (2016-17) over the last four seasons. Once an assistant at Hoover High School, Pruitt helped the Buccaneers win two straight state championships in 2004 and 2005. Good luck to everyone involved.
Pruitt would become Tennessee's fifth head coach since 2008, following Fulmer, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley and Butch Jones.
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Fulmer's efforts were weighted heavily, as it turns out, toward hiring a defensive-minded coach, concentrating toward the end on Pruitt, Georgia's Mel Tucker and Auburn's Kevin Steele. The university also replaced John Currie with former head football coach Phillip Fulmer as its new athletic director.
Tennessee backed out of the deal with Schiano, and Currie resumed in trying to find a coach.
Pruitt did not fly back from NY with the Tennessee entourage per multiple sources; instead, the relentless and multi-time national recruiter of the year departed to continue his recruiting efforts for the Tide.
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This would be at least the second meeting with Pruitt, according to GoVols247. He was the quarterback for the Vols when Tennessee went 13-0 and won their national championship in 1998. He was head coach in Knoxville from 2010-12.
Pruitt's first coordinator job came at Florida State in 2013. This year, Alabama leads the nation in scoring defense and yards per play.
Saban is the best coach in college football, and even he relies on the deepest pool of assistant coaches in the country.
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Pruitt has been excellent at every one of his college coaching stops, and he has years of experience recruiting in the Southeast region.