In what’s already been a busy morning in Knoxville, another piece of news came out from Tennessee on Monday morning.
First, it was reported that Director of Player Personnel Drew Hughes would be leaving the Vols for a position at South Carolina. Then, Tennessee defensive line coach Tracy Rocker was reported to be leaving UT for the Gamecocks as well. An hour or so after that, it was reported that Jeremy Pruitt had hired Rocker’s replacement, bringing in Colorado defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh. Around that same time, multiple reports surfaced about another coaching change at Tennessee.
Per multiple reports, outside linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator Chris Rumph is leaving Tennessee to take a coaching position on the Houston Texans’ staff in the NFL. Rumph is the second Vol assistant to leave UT for the NFL this offseason, as inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Kevin Sherrer took a job with the New York Giants earlier this offseason.
Rumph is a well-respected coach throughout the industry. In his first season at Tennessee, Rumph served as the co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach. Under his guidance, Darrell Taylor emerged as a standout player for the Vols, and Taylor will likely be drafted in the first three rounds of the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft after totaling 16.5 sacks combined the last two seasons.
Before coming to Tennessee, Rumph coached with Pruitt at Alabama from 2011-12. Pruitt was the Tide’s defensive backs coach while Rumph coached the defensive line. Rumph left Alabama to coach at Texas for a season in 2014 after spending three years at Alabama, and he returned to the SEC in 2015 to coach for the Florida Gators. He coached there for three seasons before joining the Vols’ staff.
As a player, Rumph played for South Carolina and got his coaching start at South Carolina State.
At Tennessee, the Vols finished the 2019 season with the third-most sacks in the SEC, totaling 34. Almost half of those sacks (15.5) came from Rumph’s outside linebacker group, with Darrell Taylor totaling 8.5 sacks.
As a recruiter, Rumph was credited as the primary recruiter for four-star pass rusher Morven Joseph in the 2020 class. He was also the secondary recruiter for four-star wide receiver Jalin Hyatt.
Rumph still had one year left on his three-year deal he signed when he first joined Tennessee’s staff. He was one of the Vols’ highest-paid assistants, making $805,000 annually at UT. Offensive line coach Will Friend made as much as Rumph, and only offensive coordinator Jim Chaney ($1.5 million) and defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley ($1 million) made more than those two on Pruitt’s staff this past season.