By now, most folks are starting to realize that Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt knows how to run a program.
There were some mixed views of Pruitt as a head coach when he was hired by Tennessee in late 2017. Most of the question marks surrounding Pruitt had to do with his ability to be a “ceo” type leader for a football program.
(Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray publicly questioned Pruitt’s ability to lead a program in 2018.)
But after a six game winning streak to close the 2019 season, and a recruiting hot streak this spring that has been unbelievable to watch, it seems pretty clear that UT made the right hire.
However, just because things are trending up for the Vols doesn’t mean they’ve officially turned the corner just yet. Pruitt and Tennessee still have a ways to go before the program is officially “back”.
That’s why I’m still intrigued by examples of Pruitt being a good football coach. Because those examples just further prove that what’s happening on Rocky Top right now isn’t a fluke.
We received one of those examples this week via an interview that Pruitt did with 247Sports’ Barton Simmons.
Pruitt explained the process of finding Johnathan Abram, evaluating him (he was a two-star recruit when he committed to Georgia) and eventually offering him a scholarship.
This was a great story from Jeremy Pruitt on the evaluation of S Johnathan Abrams. He would go on to be a first round pick out of MS State but when he committed to Pruitt at Georgia he was not considered a no-brainer prospect by most. pic.twitter.com/NDBmhvqqkH
— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) May 15, 2020
Abram went on to become a first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, which just goes to show that Pruitt is one of the best in the business when it comes to evaluating talent.
But that’s not the whole story with Abram and Pruitt.
Abram didn’t finish his college career at Georgia. He went to junior college before eventually landing at Mississippi State.
The night the Bulldogs fired Mark Richt in 2016, Abram walked by reporters and said “If the media wants to know anything, keep Pruitt”.
Georgia didn’t Keep Pruitt (he left to replace Kirby Smart as Alabama’s defensive coordinator) and Abram left the program.
There were probably other reasons that contributed to Abram’s decision to leave Athens, but it’s clear that his good relationship with Pruitt was a factor.
Again, all the signs are there to suggest that Pruitt is going to be able to get Tennessee football back to an elite level.
Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports