Tennessee fans potentially will get a look into the future by watching the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night.
Coach Jeremy Pruitt is in the unique position of having recruited most of the top players on Georgia’s defense while orchestrating Alabama’s dominant defense.
Pruitt served as Georgia defensive coordinator under Mark Richt from 2014-2015. He’s been the defensive coordinator at Alabama the past two seasons.
Tennessee fans might find watching an SEC East rival play for a title a palatable chore if they simply envision that these Bulldogs defenders could be the type of players coming to Rocky Top for years to come.
Pruitt comes to Tennessee with clear ideas of what he wants from each defensive position. He’s an avid recruiter who is already targeting some of the top prospects in the country.
A player to watch Monday night will be Georgia’s Roquan Smith. He was a 4-star coming out of high school who has blossomed into one of the best linebackers in the country. Smith has 124 tackles, including 11.5 for loss, this season.
Bulldogs outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter was targeted and recruited by Pruitt. He plays in the pass-rushing role similar to what new Vols commit JJ Peterson might play. Carter has 57 tackles with 4.5 sacks this season.
Tennessee fans have grown tired of its team’s weak linebacker play the past few seasons. Watching Smith and Carter should give some hope for the position in Knoxville. Pruitt hired Georgia outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer to become defensive coordinator. If Pruitt can get the prospects, Sherrer has proven he can coach them.
Meanwhile, should Alabama win another championship, Tennessee fans might get over that if they just start thinking about how quickly Pruitt could assemble a staunch 3-4 defense in Knoxville.
Alabama has led the country in scoring defense the past two seasons. The Crimson Tide allowed an average of 11.1 points per game this season and allowed 13 last season.
Total defense is just as encouraging under Pruitt. Alabama has led the country the past two seasons, allowing 252.4 yards per game this season and 261.8 in 2016.
Alabama has a talent advantage in almost every game, which helps contribute to its dominance. Pruitt is recruiting those types of players to Rocky Top, too.
He already has started getting top-tier talent to commit. It might not be long until Pruitt has his fingerprints all over another elite team, this time in Knoxville.