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Tennessee officially hands keys to Vols to Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt


And on the 25th day, they rested.

On Nov. 12, Tennessee fired Butch Jones, much to the delight of Vols fans far and wide.  Following a coaching search that took nearly a month — one which featured an athletic department coup as part of myriad twists and turns that included several reported snubs on the part of potential candidates — UT officially has its man as it confirmed reports from overnight that Jeremy Pruitt is its new head football coach.

The fact that newly-minted athletic director Phillip Fulmer, a Tennessean who is a walking embodiment of a Vol-For-Lifer, hired a man born in the state of Alabama… played his college football for hated rival Alabama… and comes to Knoxville after spending the past two seasons in Tuscaloosa as Nick Saban‘s defensive coordinator is the perfect resolution to one of the wildest coaching searches in recent memory.

“Six days ago, I mentioned several attributes that I sought to find in the next leader of our football program, and Coach Pruitt meets all criteria” Fulmer said. “I’m certain he appreciates the unique opportunity to lead a program of Tennessee’s caliber. He’s driven to win at the highest level. He will honor our university’s values, operate with integrity and be a role model for our student-athletes.”

Pruitt will be officially introduced at a 6:05 p.m. ET press conference Thursday evening.

In addition to his time at ‘Bama, which included a stint with the Crimson Tide from 2007-12, the 43-year-old Pruitt also served as the coordinator at Georgia (2014-15) and Florida State (2013).  His initial tour with the Tide was his first at the FBS level, outside of a graduate assistant position in 1997… at ‘Bama.

This will mark the first head-coaching position for the 43-year-old Pruitt at any level.

“I know Coach Pruitt will hit the ground running and go to work restoring our program to a championship level,” Fulmer added.

Pruitt will head into this Rocky Top rebuild armed with a six-year contract.  The long-time coordinator will also embark on his head-coaching career with a schedule that features matchups against Florida, at Georgia, at Auburn and, you guessed it, Alabama serving as his first four SEC games.

Just as Kirby Smart did when he accepted the head-coaching job at Georgia two years ago, Pruitt is expected remain at Alabama for however long this playoff run lasts before giving his full and undivided attention to taking over a Tennessee team that just capped the storied football program’s first-ever winless SEC campaign.

With Pruitt’s hiring, three former Saban defensive coordinators are now head coaches in the SEC East — Pruitt, Smart and South Carolina’s Will Muschamp. Additionally, with Pruitt onboard, six of the seven coaches in the division, Florida’s Dan Mullen being the lone exception, are former defensive coordinators.

Finally, as noted by USA Today‘s Dan Wolken, 11 of the 14 head coaches in the conference are currently represented by one man — super-agent Jimmy Sexton.

Tennessee announces $2.5 million ‘amicable resolution’ with ex-athletic director John Currie

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Nearly four months after ostensibly being fired as athletic director, John Currie has an official severance agreement with his former employer.

Tennessee announced Thursday evening that “it has completed an amicable resolution parting ways with former… Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics John Currie.” Currie had been earning $75,000 a month during a paid suspension; the university stated in its release that Currie will be paid a sum total of $2,220,454 (and 60 cents, for accounting purposes) no later than April 1 of this year.

Additionally, the release noted that Currie “will be paid his salary through March 22, 2018.”

In the midst of a football coaching search fiasco that included a Mike Leach hire that wasn’t, Currie was ousted as the AD at UT on Dec. 1 of last year and replaced by former Vols head football coach Phillip Fulmer.  Between then and today’s announcement, Currie had been technically employed but suspended with pay by the university.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Currie had been hired as an executive-in-residence at Robert Morris University.

FAU QB dismissed by Oklahoma ‘actually thanked’ Lane Kiffin for suspension that lasted two days

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That certainly didn’t last long.

Tuesday, after the first day of spring practice, Lane Kiffin revealed that Chris Robison had been indefinitely suspended from the Florida Atlantic football program for unspecified violations of team rules; one report had the suspension connected to skipping a mandatory tutoring session. At the time, the second-year head coach indicated that the suspension was day-to-day and could be lifted at any time.

As it turns out, Thursday was that time as the quarterback returned to the practice field with the rest of his FAU teammates.

“He came in [Wednesday] and actually thanked me for it,” Kiffin said according to the Sun-Sentinel. “He said it really kind of embarrassed him nationally and humbled him that things could kind of be taken away. It was good to see.”

A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Robison was arrested in April of that year for public intoxication; four months later, OU announced that Robison had been dismissed from the football program.  In August of last year, Robison announced his decision to transfer to FAU and ended up taking a redshirt for the 2017 season.

Robison and De’Andre Johnson are expected to compete for the starting job vacated by Jason Driskel, who announced earlier this offseason that he was retiring from the sport.  Johnson missed most of the 2017 season after blood clots were discovered in one of his arms.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) returns to practice

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In the end, it appears to be much ado about (mostly) nothing.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his left (throwing) hand. It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

Wednesday, it was reported that the injury was believed to be just a sprain and that Tagovailoa could return to practice soon. That report proved prophetic as Tagovailoa was indeed back at practice Thursday, albeit on a limited basis.


The quarterback was not doing the normal drills with his teammates but was off to the side working with head athletic trainer Jeff Allen. It looked like they were testing Tagovailoa’s ability to grip the football since the injury was suffered on his throwing hand. He replicated a few play-action roll outs with the ball in his left hand. At one point, he rolled over toward where Jalen Hurts was standing and they high fived.

Until Tagovailoa is fully recovered, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are entrenched in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp. That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.

USC graduate transfer Jalen Greene heads east to play at Illinois in 2018

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Greene is turning orange. Well, Jalen Greene is at least.

The former USC wide receiver who announced he would pursue a graduate transfer earlier this month announced on Twitter that he would be heading East to play at Illinois in 2018. He will be immediately eligible to play for the Illini.

Greene was originally recruited by the Trojans as a dual-threat quarterback but eventually made the move to receiver. He caught eight passes for 98 yards at USC last season as a partial starter and added another eight receptions for 116 yards the year prior.

Illinois has already begun spring practice and has been trying several new players at wide receiver in the process to find a good complement to Mike Dudek on the outside. It seems Greene could find himself in the mix to be one of those guys when he arrives in Champaign.