TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Georgia and Alabama have traded their defensive coordinators.
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban announced Friday the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt as the Tide’s new defensive coordinator.
Pruitt will succeed Kirby Smart, who was introduced Monday as Georgia’s new head football coach.
In a news release, Saban said, “We are excited to announce that Jeremy Pruitt has rejoined our staff at Alabama as defensive coordinator,” Saban said. “He did an outstanding job in the six years he was with us and did the same at Florida State and Georgia after that. Jeremy is obviously an excellent defensive coach, and also does a great job in terms of recruiting and developing relationships with players. We're pleased and happy to have Jeremy and his family back in Tuscaloosa.”
Pruitt joins the Alabama staff after spending two seasons as defensive coordinator/secondary coach at Georgia (2014-15). Pruitt's 2015 Georgia defense currently ranks eighth nationally in total defense, allowing 298.0 yards per game, leads the nation in passing yards allowed per game (146.1 ypg), ranks second nationally in red zone defense (.645), third nationally in first down defense (173), eighth nationally in pass efficiency defense (102.96) and is ninth nationally in scoring defense (16.9 ppg). In 2014, Pruitt's Georgia defense ranked 17th nationally in total defense (337.2 ypg), fourth nationally in turnover margin (+1.23) and was fifth nationally in passing yards allowed (170.4 ypg).
Pruitt served as both defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Florida State in 2013 as part of a staff that led the Seminoles to an undefeated season and the 2013 national championship. That Seminole 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 was 18th in rushing defense (124.8 ypg).
"This is a special opportunity for me to come back to the University of Alabama," Pruitt said in the release. "Growing up in the state and having played and coached here, I have a great appreciation for Alabama football. Coach Saban's success speaks for itself and I wouldn't be where I am today without the chance he gave me to join his staff back in 2007. We are excited to get back to Tuscaloosa and be a part of one of the outstanding programs in college athletics."
Pruitt previously served on the Crimson Tide staff for six seasons (2007-12), coaching the Tide defensive backs from 2010-12.
During his collegiate career, Pruitt played at both Middle Tennessee and Alabama. He began his career at Middle Tennessee under legendary coach Boots Donnelly, where he was a two-year starter at safety and cornerback for the Blue Raiders. After his sophomore season, Pruitt transferred to Alabama where he played two seasons under Gene Stallings. As a junior, Pruitt played in nine games and recorded seven tackles. As a senior, Pruitt played in seven games as a backup defensive back and was a member of Alabama’s 1996 SEC Western Division Championship team that beat Michigan 17-13 in the Outback Bowl in Tampa.