Georgia gets major steal with Pruitt hire
January, 14, 2014
By Edward Aschoff | ESPN.com
Shortly after Georgia made it official that former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was leaving for the same position at Louisville on Sunday, coach Mark Richt took to Twitter.
"The very best is yet to come!! Go Dawgs!!," Richt tweeted from his official account (@MarkRicht).
He didn't need all 140 characters to send out a message of reassurance, but it proved to be the true definition of foreshadowing after the Bulldogs hired away Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on Tuesday.
That is what you call highway robbery on the part of Richt. After losing Grantham, whose young defense ranked 45th nationally in total defense (375.5 yards per game) but tied for 78th in scoring (29) last season, Georgia will now have one of the top, young defensive minds in the sport overseeing its defense. During Florida State's BCS title run, Pruitt's defense ranked first nationally in scoring (12.1) and third in total defense (281.4).
While Grantham enjoyed a load of success with his 2011 defense, his last two years in Athens raised more questions about the future of the Bulldogs' defense as it continued to slide. However, having such a young group to work with stunted the growth of a team that lost some valuable NFL talent from the year before.
But with Grantham moving north, the Bulldogs made a tremendous splash with Pruitt, who will implement his version of the 3-4 scheme that Grantham worked with. That's good news, as far as continuity is concerned.
He'll also help out a secondary that had a tendency to give up big plays (hey there, Nebraska). Last year, the Seminoles' defense ranked first nationally in pass defense (156.6), interceptions (26) and second in defensive pass efficiency (93.8). Before his year at FSU, Pruitt spent three years as Alabama's secondary coach, where the Crimson Tide ranked in the top 10 nationally in defensive pass efficiency and the top 15 in pass defense all three years.
For all those fans who crossed their fingers, hoping to somehow land Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, you have almost a spitting image of him in Pruitt. They have similar backgrounds and styles when it comes to coaching and football upbringings.
Pruitt was also one of Florida State's top recruiters and is well-versed in the art of recruiting in the Southeast. This is a major win for Georgia, which now moves higher in the pecking order when it comes to SEC Eastern Division favorites next season. With a slew of young defensive talent coming back to complement an offense that should still feature a good amount of explosion in 2014, the Bulldogs could be the leaders of the pack when it comes to making it to Atlanta in what is a question-filled Eastern Division.
The top five freshmen in the SEC
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State