Georgia hires Pruitt from FSU as defensive coordinator

Georgia hires Pruitt from FSU as defensive coordinator

January 15th, 2014 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Jeremy Pruitt

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Georgia moved quickly and impressively in searching for its next defensive coordinator.

The Bulldogs on Tuesday announced the hiring of Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt -- eight days after he helped guide the Seminoles to the national championship over Auburn. He was Alabama's secondary coach for three seasons before his one year at Florida State, so he has been a part of three consecutive national-title teams.

"This is an outstanding professional and personal opportunity," Pruitt said in a release. "I'm looking forward to meeting the current players and getting on the road to visit with recruits."

Pruitt, who is scheduled to meet with the media this morning in Athens, replaces Todd Grantham, who left Sunday for the same role at Louisville. Grantham made $850,000 this past season, and there were reports Tuesday that Pruitt would have a similar salary, though no terms have been disclosed.

Florida State had numerous defensive questions entering the 2013 season, having lost coordinator Mark Stoops (to Kentucky) and seven starters, including NFL first-round draft selections Bjoern Werner and Xavier Rhodes. Yet Pruitt's unit led the nation with just 12.1 points per game allowed and created 35 turnovers.

The Seminoles had a whopping eight defensive scores, and Pruitt was a finalist for the Broyles Award given annually to college football's top assistant.

"I'm ecstatic," Georgia coach Mark Richt said in the release.

In Pruitt's three seasons as Alabama's secondary coach, the Crimson Tide ranked in the top 10 in pass-efficiency defense and the top five in total defense and scoring defense. He coached three NFL first-round selections: safety Mark Barron and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in the 2012 draft and cornerback Dee Milliner in the 2013 draft.

Pruitt was hired by FSU in December 2012.

"We always want our coaches to grow and advance in the profession," Alabama coach Nick Saban said at the time, "and Jeremy has worked very hard through the years to earn this opportunity and put himself in this situation. We appreciate all that he has done to contribute to the success we've had at Alabama and wish him the best in his new role."

Before he was a full-time coach for Saban, Pruitt served as the Crimson Tide's director of player development.

Pruitt played for his father at Plainview High in Rainsville, Ala., before signing with Middle Tennessee State, where he competed for two seasons in the secondary before transferring to Alabama. He was a backup for the Crimson Tide under Gene Stallings in the 1995 and '96 seasons.

After beginning his coaching career as a student-assistant at Alabama under Mike DuBose in 1997, Pruitt spent eight of the next nine years working in high schools. The one exception was 1999, when he was secondary coach at West Alabama.

Pruitt helped guide Hoover to Alabama 6A state titles in 2004 and '05.

Surgeries conducted

Georgia announced that senior safety Corey Moore underwent arthroscopy on his left knee Tuesday and that junior defensive end Sterling Bailey underwent surgery last week on his left ring finger. Both are expected to practice with no restrictions during spring drills, according to UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.