Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee will now wait until after the early signing period to make a move at offensive coordinator, according to a report from Volquest.
A source inside the program tells Volquest that Pruitt won’t make a hire before the early signing period. Why? Because he is looking to find someone who checks all the boxes.
One of the biggest factors in finding a new offensive leader is recruiting, a source close to the program told Volquest. Pruitt knows this firsthand. As a defensive coordinator, Pruitt was an outstanding recruiter and wants that out of this hire, too. (Via Volquest.com)
If you’ve been following this search, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. It seemed to be trending that way after the first week came up empty.
Pruitt has reportedly talked to Hugh Freeze, Chip Lindsey, Mike Yurcich, Kendal Briles and Jeff Lebby so far in the search. Clearly, he hasn’t felt comfortable enough with any of those names to make a move.
After what we went through last year, this long and drawn out process feels all too familiar. I certainly get that.
However, the decision to put this off until after the early signing period (Dec. 19-Dec. 21) doesn’t exactly mean Tennessee is going to miss out on a top name. That timeline could line up closer with the NFL’s coaching carousel, which could produce plenty of qualified candidates — some of which we may not have even discussed yet.
Waiting that long could mean they miss out on Kendal Briles, but you kind of get the feeling that Briles would be a done deal already if that’s the direction they wanted to go. Guys like Mike Yurcich and Jeff Lebby should still be available.
The most simple way to win in college football is to recruit at a high level. Jeremy Pruitt has done that over the past year. He’s got a real shot to finish strong with this class and there’s not a more important recruiting week than the one upcoming.
The early signing period has become the primary signing period. Jeremy Pruitt was forced to pick up the pieces at Tennessee last year following a chaotic search, all while piecing a staff together with just two weeks to go before the early signing period began. This year should be smoother for Pruitt, who has reportedly decided to put all of his energy into recruiting over the next week.
At this point, it’s hard to find fault in that decision.
For what it’s worth, Doug Mathews has maintained that Tennessee knows who they are going to hire. He doubled down on that yesterday on the Midday 180. Mathews reported the same last week and said that it was “95 percent done.”
“They know who they are going to hire. There may be a couple of things to work through. And the priority right now is recruiting and not the OC hire.”- Doug Mathews— The Midday 180 (@Midday180) December 12, 2018
On one hand, you want this thing wrapped up and announced. On the other, you have to like taking a thorough approach to get the right guy. The most important thing right now is the early signing period. There’s really no need to force anything right this second at this point.