Tennessee may have finally found its next head coach.
The Vols are reportedly “in the process of trying to finalize a deal” with Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, according to ESPN’s Chris Low.
Tennessee insider John Brice of Gridiron Now reported that Pruitt is expected to be officially introduced as the Vols’ head coach during an early-afternoon press conference on Thursday.
Brice also confirmed that the Vols’ “full focus is on” Pruitt and that his coaching role in the Tide’s College Football Playoff game is unlikely to be an issue, according to multiple sources.
The deal is reportedly worth between $4.1-4.2 million over six years, according to The Read Optional’s Trey Wallace.
On Wednesday, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported that Pruitt emerged as the favorite to land the Tennessee head coaching job.
Sports Illustrated?s Bruce Feldman also reported that Pruitt was a top candidate for the Vols’ coaching vacancy on Wednesday and noted the coordinator’s value to the Crimson Tide’s success beyond defensive play calling.
The Vols have also reportedly met with Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, as well as former Tennessee linebacker and current Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele regarding the position this week.
Pruitt, an Alabama alum, has served as the Crimson Tide?s defensive coordinator during the past two seasons after having previously held the same position at Georgia (2014-15) and Florida State (2013), where he helped lead the Seminoles to a national championship.
The 43-year-old assistant had also previously worked for the Tide as a defensive assistant from 2007-12 and as a graduate assistant in 1997, as well as a high school assistant throughout the state of Alabama from 1998-2006.