Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt has a reputation for being an elite recruiter.
But that wasn’t always the case.
In late 2008, while serving as Alabama’s director of player development, Pruitt made a recruiting gaffe that could’ve cost the Crimson Tide a top recruit.
Pruitt was sent to South Alabama by Nick Saban to recruit some key players after some staff shakeup.
Pruitt didn’t have to do much, just observe and report to Saban, until some of the on-field coaches arrived for in-home visits later in the week.
While keeping tabs on quarterback AJ McCarron, Pruitt made a massive blunder, apparently staking out the wrong house.
Here’s the story via Bama Insider:
During the trip, Pruitt said Saban heard rumors that then-Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin was making a run at McCarron in Mobile. Saban called Pruitt to check to see if the rumors were true. Proudly, the assistant put his head coach at ease, squashing the speculation with his own eye-witness report.
At least he thought.
“I’m like, ‘No Coach. I sat outside his house every night and watched. Nobody’s been in,’” Pruitt said. “On Thursday of that week, Coach McElwain and Coach Pendry fly into Mobile. I pick them up and we’re going straight to AJ’s house.
“We pull up there into AJ’s house. You know I had the right address, the make of the vehicle was the same that was there. You know we knocked on the door and knocked several times. And this little old lady came to the door and kind of shocks me. I’m thinking this must be AJ’s grandmother, and I said, ‘Is AJ here?’ She said, ‘Who?’ I said, ‘AJ McCarron.’ She said, ‘No, he lives four houses down that way.’
McCarron of course ended up signing with Alabama. And Lane Kiffin was gone from Tennessee after just one season.
While Pruitt’s mistake didn’t end up hurting Alabama, I’m sure he got an earful from Saban.
Fortunately for Vol fans, Pruitt got his recruiting growing pains out of his system before he landed in Knoxville.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports