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REPORT: Alabama's Jeremy Pruitt top choice to coach University of Tennessee football

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Photo: abc3340.com

According to ESPN's sources, Alabama Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is UT Football's top choice for coach.

ESPN said Pruitt is working on finalizing a deal with the Vols, bringing their disappointing three-week coaching search saga to a close. Jeremy Pruitt is known as one of the top recruiters in the SEC and has assisted to many national championship teams, according to ESPN.

This comes after UT replaced former athletic director John Currie with veteran UT coach Philip Fulmer. Fulmer is the second-winningest coach in Tennessee football history, UT said.

He compiled a 152-52 career record in 17 seasons at the helm of the program. He's also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

The search so far

University of Tennessee fans and students protested plans to hire Ohio State Defensive Coordiantor Greg Schiano so loudly that University of Tennessee leaders called the deal off. The school and Schiano were close to an agreement Sunday before the deal fell apart after heavy criticism from fans, state representatives and gubernatorial candidates.

Despite the backlash, then-AD John Currie defended his choice of Schiano to lead UT football.

"Among the most respected professional and college football coaches, he is widely regarded as an outstanding leader who develops tough, competitive teams and cares deeply about his student-athletes," Currie said in an earlier statement.

Since then, it's been one coach after another turning down the head coach spot at UT.

The Vols also reached out to Oklahoma State University's Mike Gundy. According to ESPN, Gundy also met with Tennessee officials back in 2013 when the Volunteers hired Butch Jones. Gundy ultimately decided to stick with OSU, celebrating his choice with a tweet.