Jeremy Pruitt is finally Tennessee's full-time head football coach.
Coach Pruitt arrived in Knoxville Tuesday after winning Monday's national championship game as Alabama's defensive coordinator. He no longer has to balance two SEC jobs at once.
"It's been a long time coming for me," Pruitt said.
During his first month as UT's head coach, Pruitt signed 14 players for the 2018 recruiting class. The Vols shot up rankings after the early signing period - from 54th in the nation to 16th.
Pruitt has also assembled most of his staff; it includes Georgia outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer and Florida's Chris Rumph as Tennessee's new defensive coordinator tandem; USC's Tyson Helton as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach; Colorado State's Will Friend as offensive line coach; VFL Terry Fair as defensive backs coach; and Tracy Rocker as defensive line coach. Robert Gillespie will maintain his post as Tennessee's running backs coach.
"I want a place that everybody feels comfortable coming to," Pruitt said. "A family atmosphere that not only these guys can learn about football from us, but also watch us be fathers and husbands. I think when you look at our staff, that's what we've gotten."
The Vols had a team meeting on Tuesday night; Pruitt said every player that was on the roster at the end of the 2017 season was there. He said he reached out to dismissed wide receiver Jauan Jennings after Jennings had reached out to Fulmer at the end of the semester.
"There'll be a time probably in the next couple of days me and him may possibly sit down and just kind of see where things are at," Pruitt said of Jennings.
Pruitt wished VFLs John Kelly, Rashaan Gaulden, and Kahlil McKenzie the best of luck in entering April's NFL Draft. He said he didn't discuss their decisions with them, but helped them get the information they needed to make the decision they felt was best for them.