The NY Jets are reportedly adding an experienced college coach to their coaching staff in the form of former Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
As first reported by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, the Jets are “working on a deal” with Pruitt to join new head coach Robert Saleh’s staff. uSTADIUM is reporting that Pruitt will be the Jets’ new assistant defensive backs coach.
Pruitt most recently served as the head coach at the University of Tennessee from 2018 to 2020 before being fired earlier this month as a result of his part in a recruiting scandal that found the ex-Alabama coach violated several policies.
Pruitt’s time at Knoxville wasn’t without criticism as the 46-year-old went just 16-19 in three years with the program only qualifying for one bowl game and finishing a dreadful 3-7 in his final season.
But prior to taking over as Tennessee’s head coach, Pruitt was one of the more respected defensive minds in college football.
The NY Jets are hiring a very respected defensive mind in Jeremy Pruitt
A former defensive back at Alabama, his first major job came coaching at his alma mater when he was named the schools’ defensive backs coach in 2010. He spent three years with the Crimson Tide coaching the likes of Dre Kirkpatrick and future Jets’ draft bust Dee Milliner.
Both were developed into first-round picks under Pruitt’s tutelage with Kirkpatrick still enjoying a long and fruitful NFL career to this day.
After leaving Alabama, he spent one year at Florida State serving as the school’s defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. During which he coached the likes of Ronald Darby, Lamarcus Joyner, and future All-Pro Jalen Ramsey.
The next few years would be split between Georgia and Alabama as he worked his way around the SEC as one of the most in-demand defensive coordinators in the sport. He parlayed that success into a head coaching job at Tennessee that didn’t exactly work out.
Now, it looks like he’s set to return to a defensive assistant role as he receives his first NFL coaching position.
Pruitt will serve under Saleh and new defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich as well as whoever the team’s defensive backs coach ends up being.
Dennard Wilson has held that title for the past few years and Saleh has left open the possibility that he could return. As of now, there is no word on whether or not Wilson will be back in 2021.
Nonetheless, the Jets appear to have added a very experienced and notable defensive coach to the staff. And that’s always a good thing.
*Update* Connor Hughes of The Athletic is reporting that the Jets will not be adding Pruitt to their coaching staff.