clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The case for Jeremy Pruitt as Maryland's next head football coach

New, 96 comments

One of the best recruiters in the country. One of the best defensive minds in the country. Four national championship teams. Put it all together, and you get Jeremy Pruitt.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.

Jeremy Pruitt, Georgia defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach

Possibility scale: 3/10

The resume

Pruitt, 41, started his rise at powerhouse Hoover High School in Alabama before becoming Alabama's director of player development in 2007. He became the defensive backs coach in 2010 and stayed in that role until he left to become Florida State's defensive coordinator in December of 2012.

With Pruitt at the controls, FSU led the nation in scoring defense and was third in total defense en route to an undefeated season and the BCS National Championship two seasons ago. Pruitt left after that magical season to become the defensive coordinator at Georgia. He's in his second year with the Bulldogs.

The benefits

If you like coaches who can recruit, Jeremy Pruitt is your guy. 247Sports named him National Recruiter of the Year back in 2012 when he helped Alabama haul in the nation's top recruiting class. Pruitt has the connections and savvy to bring the nation's top high school talent to College Park.

If you like coaches who can smother opposing offenses, Jeremy Pruitt is your guy. The Tide had top-10 passing efficiency defenses and top-five total and scoring defenses in each of Pruitt's three seasons coaching the defensive backs. The Seminoles allowed a paltry 12.1 points per game with Pruitt at the helm.

If you like winners, Jeremy Pruitt is your guy. Pruitt was on the Alabama staff when the Tide won it all in 2009 and coached the defensive backs during the Tide's title runs in 2011 and 2012. Pruitt led the Seminoles to the national title in his one season at FSU. That's four national titles under the tutelage of Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart.

The drawbacks

There's not a lot to dislike if you're Maryland. His defenses at Georgia haven't matched the production of his defense at FSU but it has only been two years. The Bulldogs still have a nonzero shot to win the SEC East this season.

There are two possible "knocks" on Pruitt. The first is that he is a defensive-minded coach. The administration will probably be looking for an offensive-minded coach whose wide-open offense will excite donors and fans alike. Suffocating defense is great, but it's not always thrilling.

The second issue is that Pruitt has never been a head coach and only has three years of experience as a defensive coordinator. Maryland might not be willing to entrust the future of the program to a coach with relatively brief coordinator experience and no head coaching past.

In one sentence

With his proven track record in recruiting and drawing up defensive game plans, Pruitt is one of the best young head coaching candidates out there.