Vols Reportedly Counter-Offer FSU for David Johnson

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    (Photo via Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Earlier today, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic and Fox Sports reported that Tennessee running backs coach David Johnson is expected to join Mike Novell’s staff at Florida State. But the Vols aren’t letting him go without a fight.

    According to Austin Price of Volquest.com, Tennessee has countered FSU’s offer, and Johnson has not made a decision yet as to where he’ll be coaching next season.

    Per the USA Today Sports salary database, Johnson is currently making $505,000 annually at Tennessee as the Vols’ running backs coach.

    Johnson worked for new Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell at Memphis from 2016-17 where Johnson served as the Tigers’ wide receivers coach. While at Memphis, Johnson helped develop Anthony Miller from a walk-on to an All-American and the No. 51 overall pick by the Chicago Bears.

    Jeremy Pruitt hired Johnson to his coaching staff upon arriving at Tennessee prior to the 2018 season. Johnson served as the Vols’ wide receiver coach in 2018 before becoming the running backs coach in 2019 after Pruitt hired Tee Martin as wide receivers coach.

    Johnson’s running backs rushed for 1,622 yards and eight touchdowns this season. They averaged 4.7 yards per carry as a group. Junior Ty Chandler led the group with 655 rushing yards, while freshman Eric Gray burst on to the scene with 539 yards. Tim Jordan rushed for 428 yards.

    Prior to his time at Memphis, Johnson tallied 20 years of experience as a high school and college coach in Louisiana and Mississippi.

    Johnson was pivotal to Tennessee’s success on the recruiting trail in the early signing period for the 2020 class. Johnson helped UT land several prospects from Memphis, and his ties to Louisiana have the Vols in contention for a few more prospects as well. If Johnson does leave UT’s staff, Tennessee’s recruiting board might change slightly here in the 2020 cycle and in the 2021 cycle.

    We will update as more information becomes available.

    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.