Former Bama QB: Pruitt “Scares Me More than Kirby Smart”

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    Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

    Not only does John Parker Wilson know what he’s talking about when it comes to Alabama football, but he knows what he’s saying as it pertains to Jeremy Pruitt too. Wilson was a standout quarterback at Hoover High School from 2001-04 and was at Alabama from 2005-08. Pruitt was also at Hoover in 2004, and he was a defensive assistant for the Tide in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

    Wilson, who finished his Alabama career with most of the Tide’s passing records, has experience with Pruitt. And he thinks Pruitt’s ceiling is extremely high as Tennessee’s head coach.

    In a radio interview with JOX Roundtable in Birmingham, Alabama, Wilson was asked about Pruitt at Tennessee. And he gave some glowing remarks about the Vols’ new head coach.

    “I think he’ll be wildly successful at Tennessee,” Wilson stated. “I hope that he has enough success that he can come back and be the head coach at Alabama one day.”

    Wilson would go on to say that Pruitt’s ability to connect with people is “something I’ve never seen.” He said Pruitt rose through the ranks because of that ability to connect with people, and he used that effectively in recruiting.

    And that ability to connect, recruit, and coach makes Wilson believe that Pruitt will be the most dangerous coach in the SEC East.

    “I think what he’s going to do at Tennessee, at a place like that, being the only show in town with Tennessee being the only big school in the state, he’s going to do well,” Wilson added. “He scares me more at Tennessee than Kirby does at Georgia.

    “Georgia is going to be good, but down the road, Jeremy scares me more than Kirby at Georgia.”

    Kirby Smart has already left a huge mark on the SEC in his two years at Georgia as head coach. Smart, who was a defensive coordinator at Alabama just like Pruitt was before taking the head coaching job at Georgia, went 8-5 in his first year with the Bulldogs then helped them win an SEC title and make it to the National Championship Game last season. The Bulldogs’ 13 wins last season were tied with the 2002 team for the most wins in a season in school history.

    But according to Wilson, Pruitt could be even better than Smart.

    “I just think him as a head coach, not only recruiting but bringing in other coaches, having a good staff…his ability to get them back, he’s got a higher ceiling than Georgia does,” Wilson explained. “I know the recruiting (Georgia) can do just an hour down the road in Atlanta is pretty strong. When Tennessee was good, they were recruiting on a national level. They were getting quarterbacks from everywhere, receivers from everywhere.

    “I think Jeremy has the ability to do that.”

    Tennessee’s 2018 recruiting class had 22 players from nine different states that comprised the class. Georgia, meanwhile, brought in 26 players from just eight different states in their 2018 class. Their 2018 class had 15 players from the state of Georgia, and six of their eight commitments in their 2019 class are from within the state’s borders as well. The Vols have three states (Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama) represented in their five 2019 commits.

    Pruitt has yet to coach a game for the Vols yet, but Wilson believes he’ll end up more special than the already successful Smart at Georgia. Time will tell if he’s right, but Vol fans have to be ecstatic about what they’re hearing about their new head coach.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.