TUSCALOOSA, AL (WTVM) - The Alabama Crimson Tide wasted no time in getting a replacement for the departing Kirby Smart - and they went to Athens, GA to get him.
Jeremy Pruitt has been named the next defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, replacing Smart, the university has confirmed.
"We are excited to announce that Jeremy Pruitt has rejoined our staff at Alabama as defensive coordinator," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in a release on Friday. "He did an outstanding job in the six years he was with us and did the same at Florida State and Georgia after that. Jeremy is obviously an excellent defensive coach, and also does a great job in terms of recruiting and developing relationships with players. We're pleased and happy to have Jeremy and his family back in Tuscaloosa."
Pruitt spent the last two years as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at UGA on former head coach Mark Richt's staff.
Saban and Pruitt are familiar with one another - Pruitt was on Saban's staff from 2010 to 2012, along with Smart. Pruitt also spent a year as the defensive coordinator at Florida State in 2013.
Pruitt's 2015 Georgia defense currently ranks eighth nationally in total defense, allowing 298.0 yards per game, leads the nation in passing yards allowed per game (146.1 ypg), ranks second nationally in red zone defense (.645), third nationally in first down defense (173), eighth nationally in pass efficiency defense (102.96) and is ninth nationally in scoring defense (16.9 ppg). In 2014, Pruitt's Georgia defense ranked 17th nationally in total defense (337.2 ypg), fourth nationally in turnover margin (+1.23) and was fifth nationally in passing yards allowed (170.4 ypg).
"This is a special opportunity for me to come back to the University of Alabama," Pruitt said. "Growing up in the state and having played and coached here, I have a great appreciation for Alabama football. Coach Saban's success speaks for itself and I wouldn't be where I am today without the chance he gave me to join his staff back in 2007. We are excited to get back to Tuscaloosa and be a part of one of the outstanding programs in college athletics."
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Seth Emerson, Pruitt's move is immediate and he will not coach the Georgia Bulldog's in their upcoming bowl game versus Penn State on Jan. 2.
UGA hired Smart in December after firing Mark Richt at the end of November.
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