We don’t know much about new Tennessee football head coach Josh Heupel’s staff just yet. However, it’s clear that members of the Vols’ 2020 staff are moving on and landing jobs at different places across the country.
Jeremy Pruitt himself is the most notable story here. Whatever comes of his fight with the university over his buyout, he’s landed a defensive assistant job with the New York Giants. This is his first NFL gig.
Pruitt joins other former Tennessee football coaches on Joe Judge’s staff, including former UT head coach Derek Dooley and Kevin Sherrer, who worked under Pruitt in 2018 and 2019 as inside linebackers coach. Dan Duggan of The Athletic confirmed the hire of Pruitt on Twitter after it was initially reported he’d join the New York Jets.
Source says Jeremy Pruitt will, in fact, be joining the Giants staff. Hiring not official yet and official role TBD https://t.co/8lGkno2WBU
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) January 28, 2021
In addition to Pruitt, Derrick Ansley, his defensive coordinator, also landed an NFL job. Ansley landed with the Los Angeles Chargers as part of new defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill’s staff, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic on Twitter.
New #Chargers DC Renaldo Hill mentioned 4 coaches who will be a part of defensive staff:
• Former Tennessee DC Derrick Ansley
• Giff Smith, who was Chargers DL coach from 2016-20
• Former LAR AHC and LBs coach Joe Barry
• Former SEA D quality control coach Tom Donatell
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) January 27, 2021
Running backs coach Jay Graham is staying in the college ranks. This is the second time Graham is leaving the Vols after a one-year stint, the other time being at the end of the 2012 season. Graham is getting a better gig, though, joining Nick Saban’s staff with the Alabama Crimson Tide to coach special teams and tight ends, according to Tim Watts of Bama Online on Twitter.
#Alabama expected to make another big hire in Jay Graham, as the longtime SEC assistant is expected to join Nick Saban’s staff to coach special teams and tight ends. Has stops at South Carolina, Florida State, Texas A&M and most recently Tennessee https://t.co/Su1ocbOfBh pic.twitter.com/iDpaAdOKD3
— Tim Watts (@TimWatts_BOL) January 28, 2021
What about the other staff members? Well, according to John Brice of Football Scoop, Rocky Top is not expected to keep Jim Chaney. Oh, and Kevin Steele, the other noteworthy member of the staff who was hired two weeks ago, is also not expected to stay on board, and he’ll be paid $900,000 for two weeks of work.
Brian Niedermeyer and Shelton Felton were fired already, and nobody knows what will happen with them. The same is true of Jimmy Brumbaugh, who was fired midseason immediately after UT lost to the Kentucky Wildcats. Will Friend had already left and is now with the Auburn Tigers.
At that point, wide receivers coach Tee Martin and tight ends coach Joe Osovet are the only remaining members. We wrote about what Peerless Price and Albert Haynesworth said related to Martin on Wednesday as Heupel was hired.
Nothing’s clear, but it doesn’t look like Martin will stay on staff. We don’t know what will happen with Osovet. However, Tennessee football assistants are all pretty much gone at this point. All we know about the future of the staff is that Football Scoop report, which suggests Heupel will bring many members from the UCF Knights.