DESTIN, Fla. — Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher broke into a grin when asked about evaluating Jeremy Pruitt as a quarterback while recruiting for Samford some 25 years ago, ready to dish on the ironic history from yesteryear.
“As a quarterback was too small, and I said back then he didn’t throw it good enough,” Fisher said, breaking into his infectious laugh. “Nah, Jeremy was an athletic kid that you knew was going to be a player, but he would probably have to be on the secondary side.”
Terry Bowden was the head coach of Samford University at the time (1992) and he had Fisher — then his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach — look to Plainview High School for Pruitt, who earned all-state honors his junior and senior seasons.
There wasn’t a scholarship offer from Bowden and Fisher at Samford, but there was a memory made.
“We knew he was a very good player,” Fisher said. “His dad was a high school coach, that whole deal, too, so you knew he would come ready.”
Pruitt instead chose to go to Middle Tennessee, staying two years at the Murfreesboro school before transferring to play for College Football Hall of Fame coach Gene Stallings at Alabama.
Fisher, meanwhile, followed Bowden to Auburn and the Tigers went 11-0 in 1993.
Fisher recruited Pruitt a second time, hiring him off Nick Saban’s Alabama staff in 2012 to become his defensive coordinator at Florida State.
Pruitt charged up the Seminoles’ defense, as Florida State went on to win the national championship with the country’s No. 3-ranked total defense unit.
Fisher was among the coaches at the SEC spring meetings in Destin predicting great success for Pruitt.
“Jeremy is extremely intelligent, has tremendous passion for the game, works tirelessly,” Fisher said. “He’s relentless and does whatever it will take. He understands the big picture of the game, the front to the back, and how it all fits.
“He has tremendous mind for the game and he relates very well with kids.”
As for his arm strength, Pruitt didn’t seem to have any problem lobbing passes during drill work with the Tennessee defensive backs in spring practice.