Jeremy Pruitt still has one big opening remaining on his coaching staff at Tennessee. But he’s now reportedly interviewing someone with a strong track record as a potential candidate to fill that void.
According to a report from 247Sports (it’s a VIP article), Pruitt is set to interview Memphis wide receivers coach David Johnson to fill the same position at Tennessee. Johnson was pursued by fellow SEC school LSU last offseason, but he rejected the Tigers’ advances and elected to stay at Memphis. Johnson said Memphis head coach Mike Norvell “was the key” as to why he was staying at Memphis at the time.
Now the Vols are hoping to sway Johnson to travel across the state and coach at the flagship university of the state of Tennessee.
Johnson has a strong track record of players he’s coached. He’s been with Memphis since 2015, and he coached at Tulane from 2012-15 where he served as their running backs and tight ends coach. In his time as a coach, he’s coached players such as Tyrann Mathieu and Mike Wallace in high school, and he coached Rob Kelley and Orleans Darkwa, two NFL players now, while at Tulane.
Johnson has seen an explosive passing attack while coaching at Memphis, and his receivers have benefited from strong quarterback play. Johnson became the receivers coach at Memphis during Paxton Lynch’s final season at quarterback, and he’s been the coach the last two seasons with Riley Ferguson as the signal caller.
As the receivers coach at Memphis, Johnson most notably coached up Anthony Miller to back-to-back 1,400 yard receiving seasons in 2016 and 2017. Miller was a walk-on when he first arrived at Memphis, and he now holds the record for most catches and receiving yards in a single season in Tigers’ history. And he was voted as an All-American in both 2016 and 2017.
Pruitt has all his other on-field coaching positions filled at this point. He only needs a receivers/tight ends coach, and Johnson appears to be who he’s zeroing in on.