Florida State defensive coordinator search: What do we know about Jeremy Pruitt?

I've received quite a few emails about Alabama's defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt for the Florida State defensive coordinator opening. I'll assume this is because Noles 247 floated his name a few days ago.

Here's what I know about Pruitt.

He's about 37 years old (I couldn't find a birth date, but his senior year of HS football was 1992).

Pruitt is a tremendous recruiter. He is young, connects well with kids, and owns lower Alabama and the Florida panhandle for the Crimson Tide. His track record as a recruiter is great.

His track record as a coach, however, is another matter.

Pruitt played defensive back for Middle Tennessee and Alabama, and was a very good high school player. With the exception of one year (1999, as DB coach at West Alabama), he coached high school, for almost a decade until he was hired at Alabama in 2007.

Bama picked him as "director of player development" which isn't exactly a coaching position, but a position on staff that has some coaching-like duties. He was then promoted in 2010 to be Alabama's defensive back coach.

There are a couple of ways one can view the promotion.

The first is that Saban has to trust Pruitt well enough to let him coach defensive backs.

The other is that Saban is still very hands on with the defensive backs, which are his specialty, as is Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, and that Pruitt might be on Alabama's staff to be a recruiter more than anything.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Alabama's defenses have been great while Pruitt has been there, but also great before he arrived. And there is almost no way to separate the play of Alabama's defensive backs and attribute certain things to Pruitt and not Saban.

What is a fact, however is that Pruitt has no experience as a defensive coordinator at any level of college or pro football. He does have experience as a DC at a very high level of high school football, but the amount of game planning and complexity of attack changes a bit in college.

I usually have an opinion one way or another about a coach, but I'm not sure what else to say about Pruitt.

When I explored the possibility of giving the job to DJ Eliot, FSU's defensive ends coach who had about as much defensive coordinator experience as Pruitt (Eliot has since left for Kentucky), I ultimately concluded that while Fisher's working relationship put him in a unique position to evaluate Eliot, it would probably be too risky to hire him given the strength of the position and that Fisher is an offensive-mined coach, which would be different if he could guide Eliot along the way.

For Pruitt, the same thoughts apply, except the relationship changes, as instead of Fisher evaluating Pruitt's coaching ability on a daily basis, he'd be relying on his pal Nick Saban to give him the good word.

I'm not saying that Pruitt would do a poor job, but rather noting the inherent risks of hiring someone with so little experience.

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