Tennessee hires Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt as coach

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Sources for NBC affiliate WBIR are now confirming that Jeremy Pruitt will be the next head football coach at the University of 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" Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer said in a statement. 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.

Pruitt has won two national championships during his 11-year collegiate coaching career with Florida State in 2013 and Alabama in 2016.

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Fulmer interviewed Pruitt on Monday in Dallas and then again Wednesday in NY. This year, Alabama leads the nation in scoring defense and yards per play.

Alabama topped the nation in run defense last season and ranks third in that category this year.

Sure, there is always a risk when hiring a head coach, especially one who has no experience, but Pruitt has lived for football, he has been around the best (including his father) and failure is not a word he likes to say or hear.

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We've seen these kind of hires work out greatly for some, including defending national champion Clemson with Dabo Swinney, but fail other times. Numerous names emerged throughout the process, including Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who reportedly accepted the job.

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

Currie met last week with Washington State's Mike Leach and was forced out the next day. This marks Tennessee's fourth coaching search since Fulmer was forced out in 2008. The Tide are the fourth seed this year. He will also continue to coach the Crimson Tide defense in the College Football Playoff.

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