Report: Vols to Lose Assistant Coach to NFL

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    Photo by Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

    Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt already has one position to fill on his coaching staff. Now, it looks like another spot has opened up.

    Inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Kevin Sherrer is expected to leave Tennessee’s staff and join Joe Judge’s staff with the New York Giants in the NFL per multiple reports. The news was first reported by Austin Price of Volquest.

    Sherrer joined Tennessee when Pruitt was hired as head coach prior to the 2018 season. Pruitt hired him to be the Vols’ co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. After the 2018 season, Sherrer was demoted from co-defensive coordinator and was given the title of special teams coordinator along with his inside linebacker job. Derrick Ansley was hired to be UT’s defensive coordinator last offseason.

    The 46-year-old assistant made just over $700,000 annually with Tennessee. He still had one year left on his contract, as it was set to run through January of 2021. He worked with Joe Judge, the Giants’ new head coach, at Alabama from 2010-11.

    Pruitt hired Sherrer in 2018 because the two worked together at Georgia, Alabama, and Hoover High School. Pruitt left Georgia after head coach Mark Richt was let go after the 2015 season, but Sherrer was retained by Kirby Smart and coached outside linebackers for the Bulldogs till Pruitt hired him away after the 2017 season. Sherrer has also served as the defensive coordinator for South Alabama and was the Director of Player Development at Alabama from 2010-12 while Pruitt was on staff. He was the defensive coordinator at Hoover High School from 2005-09 prior to that, and Pruitt coached there as well.

    Tennessee’s inside linebackers were ravaged by attrition this season, but the Vols’ two main starters in the unit performed exceptionally well all season. Daniel Bituli again led Tennessee in tackles, becoming only the second Vol ever to lead the team in tackles in three-straight seasons. True freshman Henry To’o To’o was voted a True Freshman All-American by 247Sports and The Athletic and made the SEC All-Freshman Team, starting all 13 games for the Vols this season and totaling 72 tackles, five tackles for loss, half a sack, a fumble recovery, and two pass breakups.

    As a recruiter, Sherrer was credited as the primary recruiter for four-star edge rusher Roman Harrison in the 2019 class. In the 2020 cycle, Sherrer was credited as the Vols’ primary recruiter for four-star athlete Len’Neth Whitehead, three-star defensive tackle Reginald Perry, and long snapper Will Albright.

    Pruitt will now have to find two new coaches this offseason. The Vols were already looking for a new running backs coach after David Johnson left UT to coach at Florida State. Now, Tennessee is on the market for a vacancy on the defensive side of the ball, too.

    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.