One of the wildest coaching searches in college football history may be finally coming to an end.
Tennessee offered its head coaching job to Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, Chris Low of ESPN.com reports, adding the Volunteers are attempting to finalize the deal as of Wednesday night. Low notes the Vols offered Pruitt the position earlier on Wednesday.
Athletic director Phil Fulmer interviewed two other SEC defensive coordinators — Auburn’s Kevin Steele and Georgia’s Mel Tucker — but, per Low, told both he planned to go in another direction. During a search that’s seen some crazy twists, Fulmer informing these other defensive coaches he’s moving on appears to provide a good indication Tennessee is confident it can reach a deal with Pruitt.
The 43-year-old Pruitt has twice been a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to Division I-FBS’ top assistant coach, and has spent many years under Nick Saban at Alabama.
He’s served as the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons, doing so after being the DC at Florida State in 2013 and at Georgia from 2014-15. Prior to his DC stays with those southeastern programs, Pruitt coached at Alabama — his alma mater — for six seasons, the final three as defensive backs coach.
Fulmer has placed a priority on finding a defensive coach, Low reports, and Pruitt is also regarded as a top-flight recruiter.
The Vols’ search became major news after the job was given to (and then rescinded from) Greg Schiano. This snafu led to the ouster of previous athletic director John Currie. Several other coaches became connected to Tennessee in 10 days between the Schiano debacle and tonight’s Pruitt news.