Pruitt replaces Butch Jones, who was sacked November 12 after going 34-27 overall and 14-24 in Southeastern Conference competition in five seasons. A year later as the defensive coordinator it was Pruitt who successfully figured out how to stop then-Nease (Fla.) quarterback Tim Tebow.
Sources say the only question that remains is whether he will coach in Alabama's semifinal game against Clemson.
Former Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is back in the SEC East.
Pruitt won three national championships (2009, 2011 and 2012) while at Alabama. Prior to his DC stays with those southeastern programs, Pruitt coached at Alabama - his alma mater - for six seasons, the final three as defensive backs coach. In 2013, his only season with the Seminoles, he constructed a unit that led the nation in scoring defense en route to another national championship. Last year, in Pruitt's first year in charge of the defense, the Crimson Tide finished tied for No. 1 in the nation, allowing 261.8 yards per game.
In 2007, Alabama hired him to work with the defense. His loss would be significant to the Tide. He joins Georgia's Kirby Smart, South Carolina's Will Muschamp and newly-hired Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M.
Pruitt is 43 years old and a native of Alabama. Lupoi is now making $950,000 per year, more than most defensive coordinators.
Since Lupoi started coaching the outside linebackers in 2015. He is also viewed by many as one of the top recruiters in the sport, .
It was reported earlier today that Pruitt added his first staff member in Colorado State's Will Friend.
Pruitt, though, was never a head coach at even the high school level. Will it be better than Butch Jones at the beginning? This marks Tennessee's fourth coaching search since Fulmer was forced out in 2008. Once word leaked that Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano had been tabbed for the job, an outcry from alumni, fans, former players and politicians ultimately squashed the deal. Then Tennessee went after Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm, but it's unclear if there was any truth to that, so the next coach in line was N.C. State's Dave Doeren who also turned down the job.
But after athletics director John Currie reportedly had a deal in place with Leach, the school fired Currie and handed the coaching search over to new interim AD and former Vols head coach Phillip Fulmer.