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Jeremy Pruitt rises in annual college football coach rankings from CBS Sports

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Always a fun list to debate.

NCAA Football: Charlotte at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

In what has become an annual tradition, CBS Sports has ranked the power five head coaches of College Football. While totally meaningless in the big picture, it’s a fun debate to have in May, helping us pass the dead days until the fall.

Last season, CBS debuted new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt at 57 of 65 power five coaches. After a rebuilding season in Knoxville, CBS moved Pruitt up to 52nd overall — one spot ahead of Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason.

Jeremy Pruitt went 5-7 (2-6 SEC) in his first season at Tennessee, and that was enough to move him up five spots in our rankings, ahead of Mason, who’s Vandy team had a better season and beat Pruitt’s Vols (for what it’s worth, I had Mason at 47 and Pruitt at 54). You’re welcome, Tennessee sports radio stations. 2018 rank: 57 (+5)

CBS has yet to release their top 25, but we do have 26-65 currently. Here’s how the SEC coaches shook out.

  • Chad Morris: 59th
  • Matt Luke: 58th
  • Derek Mason: 54th
  • Jeremy Pruitt: 53rd
  • Barry Odom: 49th
  • Joe Moorhead: 48th
  • Mark Stoops: 39th
  • Will Muschamp: 35th
  • Ed Orgeron: 30th

Other names of interest include Mel Tucker at 64, Clay Helton at 51, Justin Wilcox at 50, Willie Taggart at 47, Ryan Day at 45, Les Miles at 38, Mack Brown at 33, Dave Clawson at 29, and Jeff Brohm at 28.

Jeremy Pruitt is an impossible evaluation right now, further evidenced by Tennessee getting shut out of the 2019 NFL Draft. Only four Vols were even signed to undrafted free agent contracts. He’s done a nice job to this point of beginning the talent restoration in Knoxville, but he’s still a couple of recruiting classes away.

Still, even without the premier talent, Pruitt managed two top 25 wins. Tennessee’s upsets of Kentucky and Auburn were easily the highlights of the year, but the Vols couldn’t sustain that momentum at the end of the season, suffering blowout losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt.

With all of that said, Pruitt landing in the 50s is totally fair for now. What are your thoughts on these rankings?