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Meet Jeremy Pruitt, a man who’d never heard of asparagus and is now Tennessee’s new head coach

SB Nation logo SB Nation 12/7/2017 Richard Johnson

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Pruitt wearing a red hat © Provided by Vox Media, Inc.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Do not adjust your sets. This is not a drill. The Tennessee Volunteers appear to be officially and finally hiring a new head coach — Jeremy Pruitt. It’s official.

Thus ends one of the wildest and most unpredictable coaching searches in recent memory.

1. Pruitt has had a relatively swift rise through the coaching ranks.

He played for Alabama in 1995 and 1996 and started his career as a GA with the Tide in 1997. From there he was a high school coach for the first decade of his career until coming back to Bama as Nick Saban’s director of player personnel in 2007.

By 2010 he was defensive coordinator and worked with Saban to craft the dominant 2011 and 2012 defenses that won national championships before going to Florida State for the 2013 season. But that one season saw him win another title with the Seminoles as well.

After Florida State, he left immediately for Georgia for a two-year stint before returning to Alabama in 2016.

He’s been a big part of a whole lot of good defenses.

2. Pruitt is most certainly not a sous chef.

While being linked to the Mississippi State job earlier this coaching cycle, a chef with the same name got swept up in a social media commotion set off by a parody account, showing that even when the SEC does a normal hire, it can turn weird.

Monday evening, a handful of Mississippi State fans started tweeting at sous chef Jeremy Pruitt, urging him to come to Starkville.

They were looking for football coach Jeremy Pruitt but sent their solicitations to chef Pruitt instead, or they were just kidding around.

Here’s the tweet that started it all, as best I can tell. I think it was unironic, maybe:

3. You probably first heard about the football coach Pruitt while watching MTV.

He was the defensive coordinator for the Hoover (Alabama) High School Buccaneers that had the TV show Two-A-Days in the mid-2000s.

It was on that show that we learned the most enlightening thing about Pruitt.

4. He did not know what asparagus was until 2005.

It was on Two-A-Days that we found out perhaps the most interesting thing about Pruitt.

Note I did not write he doesn’t like asparagus. I wrote he was not aware of what asparagus was until the year AD 2005, when he was at least 31 years old.

As his dinner companion drizzled a sauce on the green vegetable, Pruitt can be heard asking, “What is that?”

When he’s told it’s asparagus, Pruitt says “I ain’t ever heard of that.”

The man isn’t here for any leafy malarky, and I respect that.

5. The SEC East would become almost entirely defensive coaches, with the addition of Pruitt.

Derek Mason, Mark Stoops, Barry Odom, Will Muschamp, and Kirby Smart all have defensive backgrounds. Only Dan Mullen cut his teeth on the offensive side of the ball.

We’ve also seen what can happen when teams try to recreate Nick Saban success with one of his proteges. It’s working great for Georgia and maybe South Carolina too, but the record is spotty, to say the least. A former Saban assistant, Derek Dooley, has bombed at Tennessee before, not that he had anywhere near Pruitt’s track record.

Both Texas A&M and now Tennessee will now try to make it work with former Saban men. We’ll see if either school can pull it off. If it goes well, you can have a Smart situation. If it goes poorly, well, you saw what Muschamp did at Florida.

Jeremy Pruitt wearing a red hat © Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

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