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Jeremy Pruitt A Home Run Hire for Alabama

Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

Alabama recently announced its replacement for departing defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Fittingly, it was Jeremy Pruitt, who served the same position at Georgia, where Smart will coach in 2016.

Alabama released a statement on its official website on Friday afternoon announcing the hire:

“We are excited to announce that Jeremy Pruitt has rejoined our staff at Alabama as defensive coordinator. He did an outstanding job in the six years he was with us and did the same at Florida State and Georgia after that. Jeremy is obviously an excellent defensive coach, and also does a great job in terms of recruiting and developing relationships with players. We’re pleased and happy to have Jeremy and his family back in Tuscaloosa.”

Pruitt is an Alabama native who played defensive back for the Crimson Tide from 1995-96 before joining Mike Dubose’s staff as a graduate assistant in 1997. He returned to UA as Director of Player Development in 2007 and was promoted to defensive backs coach in 2010.

Pruitt made his defensive coordinator debut as a member of Florida State’s 2013 BCS Championship team, while also serving as defensive backs coach. He joined Georgia’s staff the following season as one of the nation’s highest-paid assistants at $1.3 million annually.

Pruitt’s defenses have all ranked in the top 20 nationally during his three seasons as a coordinator, including No. 8 overall in 2013 and No. 8 in 2015. Smart will leave big shoes to fill at Alabama, but Pruitt seems like the most qualified candidate for the job.

He’s a proven winner having served on three national championship teams, and he already has a familiarity with the program. He also has ties to Alabama High School football, having coached at three different schools — including state powerhouse Hoover — before joining Saban’s staff in 2007.

Pruitt is an excellent recruiter who was responsible for several of Alabama standouts between 2007-12.

He recruited current Heisman favorite Derrick Henry, Reggie Ragland and current NFL running back TJ Yeldon, as well as then-FSU transfer and current starting quarterback Jake Coker, according to Stephen M. Smith of Touchdown Alabama Magazine.

Pruitt is also reportedly making an immediate jump on the recruiting trail while his predecessor, Smart, continues as defensive coordinator through the College Football Playoffs.

It was supposed to be a difficult task for Alabama to replace a coordinator as successful as Smart, let alone so quickly. But the Tide managed to pull off a home run hire in Pruitt.

It also helps that Alabama hired a coach who should stay with the program.

Pruitt’s ties to the program should keep him in Tuscaloosa for several years at what Rush Probst, his former head coach at Hoover, called Pruitt’s “dream job.

“This is a special opportunity for me to come back to the University of Alabama,” Pruitt said. “Growing up in the state and having played and coached here, I have a great appreciation for Alabama football. Coach Saban’s success speaks for itself and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the chance he gave me to join his staff back in 2007. We are excited to get back to Tuscaloosa and be a part of one of the outstanding programs in college athletics.”

 

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