The renowned recruiter and savvy defensive assistant was pegged by new athletics director Phillip Fulmer to lead Tennessee's turnaround, replacing Butch Jones, who was sacked on November 12.
Fulmer then reportedly moved on to hiring Pruitt.
He's coached the former five-star to his best season at this point, until Wilson sustained a foot injury against Louisiana State University on November 4. Pruitt, 43, has never been a head coach but served as the defensive coordinator on two championship staffs (Florida State in 2013, Alabama in 2016) and also engineered a pair of Top 16 defenses on a pair of 10-win teams at Georgia.
No. 4 Alabama plays No. 1 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on January 1 as part of the College Football Playoff. "Now I'm not sure that he can go in and steal Alabama commits this year, especially given the short window of time, but the future is bright from a recruiting standpoint". 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. The Crimson Tide are ranked first nationally in scoring defense and second nationally in total defense.
The Crimson Tide will play Clemson in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New Year's Day.
Sherrer and Pruitt both joined Georgia's staff prior to the 2014 season. Saban is 11-0 in his career against former assistants.
"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". Lupoi is now making $950,000 per year, more than most defensive coordinators. Alabama has led the nation in sacks the past two seasons with 54 in 2016 and 52 in 2015.
Lupoi, 35, started his coaching career at California, his alma mater, where he became the youngest full-time coach in Cal history at the age of 26 in 2008. He initially coached in Tuscaloosa from 2007 to 2012, the final three seasons as defensive backs coach.
ESPN is reporting that Pruitt will be allowed to stay at Alabama to coach in the National Championship Playoff while he recruits for Tennessee and assembles his assistant coaches. He has a great defensive mind (he's had nothing but success as a defensive coordinator), he's one of the best recruiters in the nation, and he appears to have the "it" factor. He has also worked under Saban, serving as Alabama's director of player development from 2010-12.
At long last, the mother of all coaching searches is over.
According to reports, the Vols had a deal in place to make the Ohio State coordinator their next head coach, but backed out at the last minute amid on-campus and social media protests against Schiano over his alleged role in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal at Penn State. 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.