FSU's defensive coordinator is one of five candidates for the honor given to the nation's top assistant coach
The first-year defensive coordinator is a nominee for the National Assistant Coach of the Year award
Saturday night's 51-14 Clemson crush exorcised FSU's Memorial Stadium demons and thrust the Seminoles into national title contention
Gold beats Garnet, 40-24, Saturday as the 'Noles' passing game -- and as a result, the quarterback battle -- steals the show at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Ryan Pensy, Scott Kotick, Layne Herdt and Brandon Mellor from Seminoles.com share their thoughts on FSU's spring practices, which come to an end Saturday at the annual Garnet & Gold Game.
Jeremy Pruitt was tabbed the new defensive coordinator for the Seminoles in December of 2012 by head coach Jimbo Fisher. Pruitt became just the third defensive coordinator in the last 28 years.
Pruitt, 38, spent the last three seasons directing one of the best defensive backfields in the country for one of the nation's best defenses as the secondary coach at Alabama. Pruitt helped the Crimson Tide rank in the top 10 in pass efficiency defense and top 15 in pass defense in all three seasons while also ranking in the top five in total defense and scoring defense. Pruitt also has been recognized as a tremendous recruiter. He was named as "National Recruiter of the Year" by 247Sports.com last year in helping Alabama land the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.
Pruitt made an impact in Tuscaloosa his last two seasons. In 2012, Alabama ranked No. 7 in pass defense yielding just 173.64 yards per game and No. 7 nationally in pass efficiency defense (103.72) while also leading the nation in total defense (250.00 ypg), rushing defense (76.36 yards per game) and scoring defense (10.93 points per game). In 2011, Alabama not only led the nation in pass defense (111.46 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (83.69 ypg), but the Crimson Tide led the nation in rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense on its way to winning the BCS National Championship.
A former defensive back with the Crimson Tide, Pruitt's knowledge on defense has helped Alabama to two Southeastern Conference Championships, two BCS National championship game berths and one BCS national title in the last three years. His secondary in 2011 produced three NFL draft picks in first rounders safety Mark Barron (No. 7 pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (No. 17 pick by the Cincinnati Bengals). Cornerback DeQuan Menzie was taken in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 2012, Pruitt's secondary overcame the loss of three NFL Draft picks to become one of the best in the nation. Junior cornerback Dee Milliner led the group with 51 tackles, 18 pass breakups and two interceptions en route to earning first-team All-America honors. A finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, Milliner ranks third nationally in passed defended with 1.67 per game.
The 2011 Alabama secondary was one of the best in the nation, boasting a pair of AFCA first-team All-Americans in Barron, a finalist for the Thorpe Award, and Menzie. Kirkpatrick made it three first-team All-Americans in the secondary when he and Barron received that honor from the FWAA.
Pruitt took over the Alabama secondary following the 2009 National Championship and the loss of three starters in the backfield. Under the tutelage of Pruitt, a young group came together quickly and helped Alabama lead the SEC in total defense, scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. The Crimson Tide finished 13th nationally in pass defense yielding 176.23 yards per game and sixth in pass efficiency defense (103.54) while Alabama ranked third nationally in scoring defense (13.54 ppg), fifth in total defense (286.38) and 10th in rushing defense (110.15 ypg). The 2010 secondary was anchored by Barron, who was named a first-team FWAA All-American. Barron led the Tide with 75 tackles in 12 games in 2010. Robert Lester also had a significant impact at safety earning second-team Walter Camp All-American honors while ranking second nationally with eight interceptions. At corner, Kirkpatrick was a second-team All-SEC pick, while Milliner was a freshman All-American and freshman All-SEC selection.
Pruitt joined the Alabama staff as Director of Player Development in 2007 after a successful stint as an assistant coach at Hoover (Ala.) High School. At Hoover, he served for three seasons as defensive backs coach with the final two as the defensive coordinator. He tutored a defense that helped the Bucs reach the Class 6A state championship in 2004, 2005 and 2006, winning titles in 2004 and 2005. Pruitt served as an assistant coach under his father, Dale Pruitt, at Fort Payne High School from 2001-03.
Pruitt began his coaching career as a student assistant coach at Alabama during the 1997 season, working under defensive backs coach Curley Hallman. After one year on the UA staff, Pruitt joined his father's staff at Plainview High School as defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator in 1998 and 2000. He spent one season as defensive backs coach at the University of West Alabama, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1999.
During his collegiate career, Pruitt played at both Middle Tennessee and Alabama. He began his career coaching under legendary coach Boots Donnelly at Middle Tennessee, where he earlier was a two-year starter at safety and cornerback for the Blue Raiders.
After his sophomore season, Pruitt transferred to Alabama where he played two seasons under Gene Stallings. As a junior, Pruitt played in nine games and appeared in seven more games as a senior backup defensive back. He was a member of Alabama's 1996 SEC Western Division championship team that beat Michigan 17-13 in the Outback Bowl in Tampa.
A two-time all-state defensive back, Pruitt helped Plainview (Ala.) High School to compile a 48-8 record during his four-year career. He earned all-state honors in both 1991 and 1992.