Jeremy Pruitt knows where Tennessee is at in the landscape of not only the SEC but also all of college football.
As a first time head coach, he also knows what his biggest strength is: getting the best players to come play for him. Which is a good thing. Because recruiting is the starting point for Pruitt to bring Tennessee football back to where Volunteers everywhere want it to be.
“I will go to dadgum China for him if he’s a player,” Pruitt said in this National Signing Day profile by ESPN’s Chris Low. “We gotta have players.”
The biggest challenge for Pruitt may be that he is now in Knoxville, recruiting for Tennessee against Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa and Kirby Smart in Athens, as opposed to alongside them as part of Alabama’s staff.
Catching up to and overtaking Alabama and Georgia in the recruiting races is not going to happen overnight, but it has to happen to return Tennessee to prominence. And Pruitt knows how that process begins.
“But what you need is that you need 15 guys that you beat Alabama and Georgia on instead of three or four,” Pruitt said. “If we’re not recruiting those players and getting those kinds of players, then we’re not doing our job.”
Pruitt also provided a glimpse into the kind of competitive fire he’s bringing to Knoxville in a story about pickup basketball games with Saban and the rest of the Crimson Tide coaches, pointing out his hustle resulted in Saban adding Pruitt to his team.
“That’s how I got on his team, going for every offensive rebound and every loose ball,” he said. “Maybe that’s how I got noticed when I first got there…”Tennessee will get that same dedication. It’s the way I believe in doing things.”