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#pounditSaturday, February 4, 2023

Tennessee high school football coach unloads on Jeremy Pruitt

Jeremy Pruitt

If you want another idea of why Jeremy Pruitt failed as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, look no further than the assessment from a prominent high school football coach in the state.

David Ubben and Joe Rexrode of The Athletic spoke anonymously to eight high school football coaches in the state of Tennessee to evaluate how the Volunteers’ recruiting is going under new coach Josh Heupel. Building relationships with top high school coaches is crucial for college coaches, as it can give them a leg up in recruiting and play a big role in keeping top recruits from leaving the state.

One of the anonymous coaches, described as a head coach in the Nashville area, essentially unloaded on Pruitt, who was fired in January.

“Pruitt, that guy, I had nothing to do with him,” the coach said. “I saw him one time over here. I’ll leave it at that. He told one of our kids who played for him, who started a lot of games for him, that he couldn’t win with kids from our school and needed some dogs from Georgia. I was not a big fan at all. He didn’t think he could win with Tennessee kids, and it’s true that you can’t win with just Tennessee kids, but you better get the best from here, and there’s plenty you can get. He didn’t do that.

“And to be honest with you, I thought he was a low-class human being. We had kids on that team, we had managers, and just the stories about him, he didn’t sound like someone I’d really want to have anything to do with.”

Pruitt went 16-19 in three years at Tennessee, and was ultimately fired over alleged recruiting violations. That produced some pretty wild stories. Pruitt clearly didn’t make many connections within the state of Tennessee, an error Heupel seems intent on correcting. No wonder the Vols felt the need to make a change.

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