David Johnson left the Tennessee Vols earlier this month to take a job on Mike Norvell’s staff at Florida State.

The New Orleans native served on Jeremy Pruitt’s staff for two seasons — first as the wide receivers coach in 2018, then as the running backs coach in 2019.

Johnson’s previous relationship with Norvell at Memphis, plus the opportunity to get his family closer to home, is what drove his decision to take the job at Florida State (he’ll be the Seminoles running backs coach/recruiting coordinator).

The former Vol assistant recently spoke with The Athletic’s David Ubben about his time in Knoxville. It’s a fantastic interview that provides a lot of insight into Johnson’s experiences with Pruitt.

Johnson had nothing but positive things to say about Pruitt and the staff at Tennessee. He noted that Pruitt is a demanding boss, but added that the former Alabama defensive coordinator is a “football genius” that understands both sides of the ball.

When Johnson was asked about his thoughts Tennessee eventually making the college football playoff, he stated that he believes the Vols will be playoff contenders in “less than five years”. Johnson pointed to the recent recruiting success of Tennessee — specifically their in-state recruiting success — as one of the main reasons UT will be in a playoff position in a few years.

As far as the rest of the interview, I was surprised by all the good things Johnson had to say. It’s not that I expected him to say anything bad about Pruitt and Tennessee, I just wasn’t expecting the overwhelming positivity about the program from him.

(Again, you should check out the whole interview.)

But I guess that just tells you where the Vols are right now.

It’s a good spot for the program to be in.

Featured image via 247Sports


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