Bulldogs Blog

Alabama hires Jeremy Pruitt to be program's next defensive coordinator

Jason Butt

jbutt@macon.com

Jeremy Pruitt
Jeremy Pruitt AP

Jeremy Pruitt's time at Georgia is over.

A source confirmed to The Telegraph that Pruitt will become Alabama's next defensive coordinator. Pruitt spent the past two seasons as Georgia's defensive coordinator and improved the unit from where it was during his time in Athens.

Pruitt's group ranked No. 8 in total defense this season at 298 yards per game. The website BamaOnline.com was the first to report the news. Alabama made it official shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday.

After Georgia's 13-7 win over Georgia Tech, Pruitt said he hoped to remain with the Bulldogs, although that would never be a part of the program's plans.

"I want to be at Georgia and I think our whole staff wants to be at Georgia, so I hope that’s clarity enough," Pruitt said after the win.

Pruitt told Georgia's defensive players he was leaving during a meeting Thursday. According to the same source, Pruitt told players he wanted to stay on at Georgia but that he was not being retained by new head coach Kirby Smart. The news did not go over well with a lot of the players Pruitt recruited. It remains to be seen if any of those players Pruitt recruited look to transfer.

Attention will now turn to who Smart replaces Pruitt. When Smart was introduced as Georgia's head coach on Monday, he said he will take his time filling out his staff.

"We don't put a timetable when we make those decisions," Smart said. "It's a very fluid situation, constantly moving and changing. I won't put any timetables on anything. Right now we're worried about getting on the road, getting recruiting, and trying to assemble staff and talking to as many people as we can."

Pruitt will not coach Georgia's TaxSlayer Bowl game against Penn State. He is set to begin work at Alabama immediately.

Pruitt spent considerable time at Alabama earlier in his career. He joined head coach Nick Saban's staff in 2007 as a director of player development and assumed that role for three seasons. In 2010, Pruitt became Alabama's defensive backs coach under Smart, who became Alabama's defensive coordinator in 2008. After three seasons, Pruitt took the defensive coordinator job at Florida State in 2013, helping the Seminoles win a national championship.

"He did an outstanding job in the six years he was with us and did the same at Florida State and Georgia after that," Saban said in a statement. "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."

That offseason, Pruitt left Florida State to take the Georgia defensive coordinator position.

"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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