When the Tennessee Vols moved on from defensive line coach Tracy Rocker after the 2019 season it was mostly because Jeremy Pruitt wanted to improve in recruiting.

That’s part of the reason that Jimmy Brumbaugh was hired away from Colorado.

The thought was that Brumbaugh was a young, energetic coach who could excel on the recruiting trail.

Unfortunately for Pruitt, the Brumbaugh hire didn’t work out as planned. Pruitt fired Brumbaugh after just four games in 2020.

While there were likely several factors that went into the decision (coaching style, chemistry, etc), it appears that Brumbaugh’s recruiting abilities could’ve been a factor.

Based on some recent comments from 2022 four-star defensive tackle Curtis Neal, it doesn’t sound like Brumbaugh was much of an upgrade over Rocker when it came to recruiting.

Neal told VolQuest this week that Tennessee was recruiting him “hard” before the fall. The Vols cooled a bit this fall and then picked back up recently.

The North Carolina native has been primarily recruited by Jay Graham (who is also a North Carolina native). But even before Brumbaugh was fired, he wasn’t really invovled in Neal’s recruitment. Which seems odd considering Brumbaugh would’ve been his position coach.

“I’m hoping it’s a good recruiter (whoever UT hires to replace Brumbaugh) and not just for me, but for other guys too,” said Neal. “I never heard much from the previous defensive line coach.”

Neal is rated in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 25 defensive tackle in the 2022 recruiting class. He’s rated as the No. 12 player in the state of North Carolina. You’d think that would be a guy that Brumbaugh would want to build a relationship with.

But nope, Brumbaugh pretty much ignored him.

Ultimately this is on Pruitt. He’s the one that hired Brumbaugh without interviewing anyone else. Maybe if Pruitt would’ve gone through a proper interview process when he needed a defensive line coach last winter things would’ve worked out different.

Either way, it’s clear that Brumbaugh wasn’t a good fit at Tennessee.

Featured image via 247Sports

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