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Star linebacker JJ Peterson commits to Tennessee

12 January 2018

Pruitt had just helped coach Alabama to a thrilling 26-23 overtime win over Georgia in the national championship game, but that was not the only source of his adrenaline.

It's a juggling act that's becoming more and more common these days with an extra round in the football playoffs and a coaching carousel that's getting revved up earlier and earlier in the calendar, especially with a new early signing period in late-December.

Tack on that both belong to, of course, the same conference, the Southeastern, which meant that when Alabama played Tennessee and Mississippi State this season, Georgia already had played those two, deepening Alabama's study of a Georgia it already understood utterly.

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University of Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt addressed the media for the first time Wednesday since he was introduced as the Vols head coach in December. He took the helm of the Volunteers program after cementing himself as the nation's top defensive coordinator during stints at Alabama (2016-17), Georgia (2014-15) and Florida State (2013). Then he wasnt helping Bama and Nick Saban, the man who brought him into the college football coaching world a decade ago.

The new coach was named National Recruiter of the Year in 2012 by 247Sports and has coached 34 NFL Draft picks and 11 first-team All-Americans.

Pruitt's defensive staff also includes former Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph, former Florida State defensive coordinator Charles Kelly and former Colorado State assistant Terry Fair plus Tracy Rocker, a former Auburn star and longtime SEC assistant who was out of coaching this season.

Pruitt reiterated Wednesday that he stayed with Alabama through the national championship game out of a sense of obligation to his players there.

"And Tosh just kind of paused, and I said, 'Tosh, do you need me to leave the room?' So everybody kind of got a kick out of it, but we all recruit the same guys". While there is common ground between the last two Crimson Tide defensive coordinators, Smart explained there was one major hurdle Pruitt faced that he did not. And I know his expectations and I know my expectations.

That continued to change Tuesday night during a team meeting in which Pruitt set the expectations for the upcoming semester and offseason training program. "I told the players last night, there are no flawless coaches, there are no ideal players and there never will be, so we're always learning".

"I knew that anytime I had any questions, I knew that whenever I needed advice, I knew that was probably as good a guy in the business that I could go lean on and talk to", Pruitt said of Fulmer.

Less than 24 hours later, Pruitt was on a flight to Knoxville, after a night where he "didn't get a whole lot of sleep" to turn his attention to the Vols full time.

"If you ain't recruiting 365 days a year, somebody else is", Pruitt said. "So usually we can kind of finish each other's sentences". "If we want to get what we want, then we better get started". "They are insane hard workers though, those first couple days Pruitt literally didn't sleep". "Most of the time, my mind was thinking in Knoxville, I can tell you that".

Star linebacker JJ Peterson commits to Tennessee