One of the open spots on the Tennessee Volunteers football staff has been filled. According to a report from VolQuest, Texas A&M running backs coach and co-offensive coordinator Jay Graham will leave his current job to join Jeremy Pruitt in Knoxville.
The position became a need for Tennessee shortly after it was announced that Florida State head coach Mike Norvell was targeting former Tennessee running backs coach David Johnson. Johnson did well at Tennessee, but his connections with Norvell proved too much to overcome. By January 4th, it was official that Johnson would be leaving to Tallahassee.
Less than a month later, Pruitt found his guy.
The obvious connection is Graham’s playing career as a member of the Tennessee football team from 1993 to 1996. Graham still ranks sixth all time in program rushing yards, and is fondly remembered by fans who watched him produce during a successful era in program history. He was previously on Tennessee’s staff during the 2012 season.
Graham’s hiring makes even more sense when considering who he’s replacing. Graham and Johnson are very similar coaches who bring virtually the same exact same strengths to the table. Both are well known for their recruiting prowess and ability to pull kids from basically anywhere in the south.
As coaches, they’re respectable. There’s nothing too difficult about coaching running backs, so the recruiting is what your focus should be on. The continuity should not be overlooked.
It’s also impressive to see Pruitt flexing his muscles when it comes to his hiring pool. He has now convinced coaches from Georgia, Texas A&M, and Alabama to leave their current jobs and be a part of his staff at Tennessee. It’s a good sign that Tennessee’s brand is still quite strong, and that Pruitt has the connections to build something truly special in Knoxville.
The lone remaining spot open on staff is inside linebacker, which is vacant after Kevin Sherrer left to take a job with the New York Giants. Expect that spot to be filled shortly as well.
It is unknown what Graham’s titles will be or how much his contract is for.