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Update: UGA officially poaches DC Jeremy Pruitt from FSU

Jeremy Pruitt AP

It appears that Mark Richt is on the verge of filling a significant vacancy on his defensive coaching staff… and it’s a doozy.

First reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and subsequently confirmed by ESPN‘s Mark Schlabach, Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is expected to accept the same position at Georgia.  Pruitt would replace Todd Grantham, who left just two days ago to take the coordinator job at Louisville.

The Journal-Constitution reported that the 39-year-old Pruitt is in Athens Tuesday, where he was meeting with Richt and the rest of the coaching staff.  There’s been no official word from UGA on filling the coaching void, although that should come at some point this week if not today.

Pruitt, who’s expected to sign a contract worth $850,000 annually, spent just one season with the Seminoles, but what a season it was.

The Pruitt-led defense played a significant role in FSU’s BCS title, finishing at or near the top of every major statistical category.  Following the 2013 regular season, Pruitt was named as one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Prior to his short stint with the ‘Noles, Pruitt had spent the previous six years at Alabama, including the last three as Nick Saban‘s defensive backs coach.

UPDATED 4:44 p.m. ET: Following up on reports from earlier in the day, Georgia confirmed via a press release that it has hired Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to the same post with the Bulldogs.

“I’m ecstatic,” said UGA head coach Mark Richt in a very brief statement.

“This is an outstanding professional and personal opportunity,” said Pruitt. “I’m looking forward to meeting the current players and getting on the road to visit with recruits.”

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21 Responses to “Update: UGA officially poaches DC Jeremy Pruitt from FSU”
  1. chc4 says: Jan 14, 2014 2:03 PM

    Great hire. Why in the world didn’t FSU match that?

  2. afrancis55 says: Jan 14, 2014 2:08 PM

    Maybe he’ll teach the defensive backs to knock the ball down

  3. deadeye says: Jan 14, 2014 2:26 PM

    Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last, from Grantham’s terrible coaching that is.

  4. woebegong says: Jan 14, 2014 2:34 PM

    He would appear to be a fairly good choice, although not one I would have expected. I wonder why FSU would be willing to let him go? Is it possible he knew he might most likely never have a chance at HC there?
    He did have a heck of a defense this year and with his experience as a DB coach as well, it is hard to see any downside for UGA in getting him, other than I would suspect that he will be offered a HC job in a couple of years at most, if he has the same success at UGA that he enjoyed at FSU.

  5. wabbitslayer says: Jan 14, 2014 3:14 PM

    You can’t knock hiring the DC from a team that just won the NC, but I was sort of hoping they would give LB coach Kirk Olivadotti a shot at it.

  6. driley715 says: Jan 14, 2014 3:19 PM

    Dude came a long way from MTV two a days

  7. realfootballfan says: Jan 14, 2014 3:40 PM

    First big loss for the team going into next year, but I’m sure Fisher will have a ready replacement, either internally or another Saban defensive disciple. Hell, Will Muschamp will be available in roughly 1 year, lol.

  8. realfootballfan says: Jan 14, 2014 3:45 PM


    It had nothing to do with money. He had a built in 20% raise coming next year, and Florida has no state tax. Also, FSU was not given a chance to match. Pruitt just wanted to move on, probably because Richt is on the way out himself and he sees a quick way to a major college head coaching job being the bright spot on his staff. Who knows?

  9. realfootballfan says: Jan 14, 2014 3:47 PM


    Richt has tried to poach Saban disciples forever. Kirby Smart was supposedly going there a few years ago. FSU will be fine though.

  10. jimmy53 says: Jan 14, 2014 4:27 PM

    chc4: “Why in the world didn’t FSU match that?”

    –Because you don’t pay a second year DC $850,000 (plus supplementals) even with the MNC.

    UGA waaaaay overpaid here in a desperation move after Kirby Smart turned them down 2 days ago (do some digging and you can find the story).

    Fisher will hire a quality DC (probably One already on staff IE- Sal), but it”ll sting this close to signing day.

    Money talks….

  11. jimmy53 says: Jan 14, 2014 4:28 PM

    Also, FSU only expected to have him for one more year before he snagged an HC job.

  12. woebegong says: Jan 14, 2014 5:49 PM

    Kirby Smart was a UGA graduate so I am not sure about that poaching aspect in this case. Both schools do it against each other for coaches as well as athletes. The latest example was a kid named Kamara that Alabama persuaded to go there, to prevent UGA from getting him. Actually it worked out well for UGA, but the Kamara kid probably killed his chances of playing big time football and will be buried down Alabama’s depth chart.
    It is almost a symbiotic relationship between the two schools.

  13. woebegong says: Jan 14, 2014 5:54 PM

    I don’t think he is counting on being the next UGA coach. I think Bobo has the better shot at that, but stranger things have happened.
    Since Richt was a coach there prior to being the HC at UGA, there could possibly be some small tie there, but it might possibly have been that coaches and players like to play for Coach Richt. His attitude towards those under him is a big selling point. The Parents even seem to truly like and trust him as well.

  14. doctorlb says: Jan 14, 2014 6:28 PM

    “The Pruitt-led defense played a significant role in FSU’s BCS title, finishing at or near the top of every major statistical category”
    Heh. He will be in for a big surprise when he has to face an SEC defense for the majority of the season.
    And I don’t think Richt is going anywhere any time soon.

  15. chc4 says: Jan 14, 2014 6:32 PM

    jimmy53 — Kirby Smart was never contacted about the opening this time around. That is a fact. Pruitt was the guy Richt wanted from the moment Grantham left. Schlabach from ESPN (UGA grad) said he was aware 1 hour after Grantham’s resignation that Pruitt was his target.

    You’re nuts if you don’t think money was a factor. FSU’s athletic dept is not nearly as profitable as UGA’s. Just b/c they won the NC this year doesn’t mean they have unlimited funds. Though I also hear Jimbo is not an easy guy to work for so that may have played a role as well.

    Lastly, I don’t buy that Richt is on his way out. Biggest knock on him is his inability to find a good DC. As you probably know Richt is an offensive guy and the O has been lights out. If Pruitt works out all will be well. Heck with a marginally decent D we beat Bama in ’12 and win a NC ourselves.

  16. realfootballfan says: Jan 14, 2014 7:24 PM


    FSU and Georgia are about equivalent in athletic budgets and revenues. Let’s not go overstating things. Georgia is a second tier SEC school money wise, which is where FSU is if you hypothetically put them in that conference.

    Pruitt left because he wanted to go whether it be his relationship with Fisher, which I doubt was the problem as there were no indications like say with the rocky one between Fisher and Stoops, or because he just sees this as the best move for his advancing career. Even with just the built-in raise without matching the offer dollar for dollar, it comes out to about 650k vs. 850k in FL without a state income tax vs. GA with a 6% income tax. In other words, we’re talking roughly $150k, And that’s just going on his automatic raise he had coming and without FSU even trying to get in the bidding war to keep him, which they might have, but I’m glad they didn’t. There are other good coaches out there who can do the job.

  17. boomgrounder says: Jan 15, 2014 1:22 AM

    Big loss for FSU! I don’t think they beat Auburn without Pruitt’s 2nd half defensive adjustments.
    Great hire by Georgia.
    Fischer is notoriously difficult to for, 6 out of 9 assistants left his staff last season. He is a micromanager. Richt is the exact opposite. 350k raise!
    Plus Pruitt is from Alabama and wants to get back in the SEC venues and competition on a weekly basis. FSU/Tally/ACC is a whole different culture. Wake Forest, Pitt, VA, Syracuse and BC ain’t FL in JAX, Tenn, SC, LSU, Auburn or Alabama.

  18. infrno says: Jan 15, 2014 12:28 PM

    FSU notoriously underpays its assistant coaches compared with the majority of SEC schools. If you don’t think a 70% pay raise is the main reason he left, you’re absolutely delusional.

  19. djshnooks says: Jan 15, 2014 1:43 PM

    What a scumbag…leaving for a lateral job?

    Hopefully he fails miserably.

  20. woebegong says: Jan 15, 2014 4:07 PM

    I bet you would turn down that big of a raise out of loyalty for sure. The man is not in the profession just for the fun of it all.

  21. realfootballfan says: Jan 15, 2014 6:13 PM

    I love people here talking out of their asses about stuff they don’t know anything about. He had a raise coming at about 20% regardless. Pruitt simply wanted to leave since he never gave FSU a chance to match and said as much in his introductory press conference. He was only there a year, I wish him well. Hopefully, just like sign-stealing Craig, he’ll be on the other sideline in a playoff or championship game this time next year, getting beat by FSU.

    We heard this same hand wringing throughout the 90’s when Bowden’s offensive coordinators moved on, and they didn’t skip a beat. This is a machine again, so get out of our way.

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