Jeremy Pruitt might be an Alabama graduate, but he’s a perfect fit as the Tennessee Vols’ head football coach.

When Butch Jones served as Tennessee’s head coach from 2013-2017, it always felt like the Vols were a MAC team that happened to play their home games in Knoxville.

Jones took the “Tennessee” out of the program.

Pruitt, however, is getting the program back to its roots. And that’s not just because of what’s happening on the football field, either (though UT football is starting to resemble the UT football that folks fell in love with growing up).

It’s hard to explain, but Pruitt’s personality just fits at Tennessee. And the longer he’s a head coach, the more his personality starts to develop.

Pruitt is a witty guy that knows how to command a room. He’s charismatic in a southern kind of way.

Just take a look at a couple of his quotes from Tennessee’s recruiting celebration in Nashville on Thursday.

The Derrick Ansley quote shows that Pruitt is comfortable in his own skin (unlike Butch Jones). Pruitt has one of the best defensive minds in college football. But he doesn’t really care about that perception. He’s comfortable enough to make a joke at his own expense.

Pruitt can also be candid, like when he retold a story about his wife asking if he was going to hire Jay Graham as his running backs coach after David Johnson left for Florida State.

When Butch Jones spoke to the media, it always felt tense and disingenuous. But when Pruitt speaks to the media, there’s a relaxed feel. Pruitt isn’t up there trying to control how he’s perceived. He’s just himself.

Pruitt didn’t have a lot of experience speaking to the media before he took over at Tennessee. But over the last two years, he’s really come into his own as a head coach.

The Vols’ head coach might not be from Tennessee, but he’s representing UT football as well as anyone has since Phillip Fulmer was leading the program.

Featured image via Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports


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