Jeremy Pruitt already has one former Vol star on his coaching staff. Now it appears as though he’ll be adding another.
According to a report from 247Sports, former Vol running back Montario Hardesty is set to join Pruitt’s staff as a quality control coach on offense. The report indicates that Hardesty may work with the wide receivers on Tennessee’s staff.
If Hardesty does join Pruitt’s staff, he’ll join another former Vol in Terry Fair on the staff. Fair played for the Vols from 1994-97 and was an All-SEC defensive back. Fair was drafted in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft where he spent six years in the NFL. Pruitt hired him as his cornerbacks coach last month.
Hardesty dealt with injuries and played behind other solid running backs for the majority of his Tennessee career, but he burst onto the scene in 2009 during Lane Kiffin’s lone season as the Vols’ head coach. Hardesty ran for 1,345 yards and 13 touchdowns on 282 carries while adding 302 receiving yards and a score on 25 catches. He was a second team All-SEC selection after the 2009 season. Hardesty was drafted in the second round by the Cleveland Browns in the 2010 NFL Draft, but injuries reared their ugly head again, and he only played in five games in the NFL, totaling 537 yards and a touchdown on 153 carries.
Hardesty kept up a strong relationship with his former coach over the years, and Kiffin hired him to his staff at Florida Atlantic for the 2017 season. Hardesty had been the special teams coach for Norfolk State for two seasons prior to Kiffin hiring him.
In his Tennessee career, Hardesty ran for 2,391 yards and 26 touchdowns. His 1,345 rushing yards in 2009 are the fourth-most in a single season by a Vol in program history, and he’s ninth all-time in career rushing yards in Tennessee history. His 282 attempts in 2009 are also the second-most in a single season ever at UT, and he finished third all-time with 560 career carries. His 13 rushing touchdowns in 2009 are tied for the sixth-most in any one season in Vol history, and his 26 career rushing scores are tied for the 7th-most in school history. His 1,647 all-purpose yards in 2009 are also the fourth-most in a single season in Tennessee history.