Recruiting is the life blood of college football.
And no one understands that better than Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
The Alabama native has always had a reputation for being a tremendous recruiter. In 2012, while serving as Alabama’s defensive backs coach, Pruitt was named “national recruiter of the year” by 247Sports.
Of course, recruiting as an assistant is completely different than recruiting as a head coach. Assistants have areas and positions they’re specifically recruiting. Head coaches have to recruit everyone — not just certain areas or positions. And they have to convey a strong, consistent recruiting message.
Conveying that message can sometimes be difficult. But Pruitt manages to use the media for recruiting purposes on the regular. Sometimes it’s a subtle message, other times he’s more direct.
For example, when Pruitt mentions not using his players at positions they don’t want to play, that’s specifically for recruiting purposes. It’s the best way for Pruitt to get the message of what he’s about as a head coach out to the masses. Sure, he can say it in private to whoever he’s recruiting, but it means a lot more when it’s said in a public forum — it makes Pruitt accountable for his words. And that’s something that recruits and their families appreciate.
Other times, Pruitt is much more direct in his recruiting message via the media. On Sunday evening, Pruitt gave an impassioned recruiting plea on WMNL in Knoxville.
“When you talk about recruiting, if you are sitting there as a recruit and you look and see how our players responded when we were 1-4 to finish 8-5, how our fan base stayed with us, how could you not want to be a part of this?” said Pruitt during his appearance on “The Nation”.
There’s a reason Pruitt has a reputation as a great recruiter. It’s because he knows how to properly use the resources available to him to get the job done.
Media obligations are viewed by plenty of football coaches as a waste of time.
Pruitt, however, views them as an opportunity to recruit.
After two years of serving as the Vols’ head coach, it’s obvious that Pruitt is feeling more and more comfortable talking to the media.
And that’s only going to help Tennessee in recruiting.
Perhaps that’s the reason Nick Saban doesn’t let his assistants talk to the media — he doesn’t want them getting any on the job training that can come back and bite him in the future.
Featured image via USA Today/The Tennessean