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January 14, 2014
Dawgs get their man
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Georgia has a new defensive coordinator and his name is Jeremy Pruitt, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.
The 39-year-old Pruitt comes to Athens from national champion Florida State, where he served as the Seminoles' defensive coordinator this past seasons.
He takes over for Todd Grantham who resigned on Sunday to become the defensive coordinator at Louisville.
As defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at FSU, Pruitt was part of a coaching staff that led the Seminoles to an undefeated season and 2013 BCS National Championship. The FSU defense ended the season ranked first nationally in scoring defense (12.1 ppg), second in team passing efficiency defense (93.77), third in total defense (281.4 ypg), and 18th in rushing defense (124.8 ypg). He was a finalist this year for the Broyles Award which goes annually to the nationıs top assistant coach.
"I'm ecstatic," head coach Mark Richt said in a statement.
Pruitt seemed pleased as well.
"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."
Pruitt was named Florida State's defensive coordinator in December, 2012, after serving the previous three seasons (2010-12) as Alabama's defensive backfield coach. In each of his three seasons as secondary coach, the Crimson Tide ranked in the top 10 nationally in pass efficiency defense, top 15 in pass defense and top five in both total defense and scoring defense.
A former Alabama defensive back, Pruitt originally joined the Crimson Tide staff in 2007 as director of player development. He had previously served as an assistant coach at Hoover (Ala.) High from 2004-2006, and as an assistant under his father, Dale Pruitt, at Fort Payne (Ala.) High and Plainview (Ala.) High. He spent one season, 1999, as defensive backs coach at the University of West Alabama.
In 2012, Alabama ranked No. 7 in pass defense yielding just 173.64 yards per game and No. 7 nationally in pass efficiency defense (103.72) while also leading the nation in total defense (250.00 ypg), rushing defense (76.36 yards per game) and scoring defense (10.93 points per game). In 2011, Alabama not only led the nation in pass defense (111.46 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (83.69 ypg), but the Crimson Tide led the nation in rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense on its way to winning the BCS National Championship.
Pruittıs 2011 secondary at Alabama produced three first team All-Americans and NFL draft picks in first rounders safety Mark Barron (No. 7 pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (No. 17 pick by the Cincinnati Bengals). Cornerback DeQuan Menzie was taken in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 2012, Pruitt's secondary overcame the loss of three NFL Draft picks to become one of the best in the nation. Junior cornerback Dee Milliner led the group with 51 tackles, 18 pass breakups and two interceptions en route to earning first-team All-America honors. A finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, Milliner ranked third nationally in passes defended with 1.67 per game.
Players on Twitter were apparently happy with the decision.
"Let's goooooo!" cornerback Damian Swann said.
Freshman Davin Bellamy, who originally committed to FSU before signing with Georgia, could not have been more thrilled.
"This is so crazy how things worked out for me in the last year it's a big ol circle #wow let's get to work fellas," he tweeted.
Other Bulldog defensive players expressed similar sentiments.
Of course, questions do remain. Will Pruitt stick with the 3-4 or go to his more familiar 4-3? Also, what about the futures of inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti and defensive line coach Chris Wilson?
Stay tuned for more information.