As even his father suggests, Jeremy Pruitt has some built-in advantages on the recruiting trail.
Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt is 247Sports' National Recruiter of the Year for the Class of 2012.
Selling the virtues of Alabama’s football program isn’t exactly asking for a leap of faith, especially when making the pitch within a state that regards the flagship’s tradition with such veneration.
“I’m proud of him and he’s my son and all that, but if you have the ‘A’ on your jacket and you walk in with Nick Saban, you can be a pretty good recruiter,” Pruitt’s dad, Plainview (Ala.) coach Dale Pruitt, said with a laugh.
True, to a degree. But one can have the best product in the world, and if it’s not marketed adeptly, sales and ultimately the company suffer.
In that regard, it’s hard to dispute Pruitt – 247Sports’ 2012 Recruiter of the Year – hasn’t maximized the Crimson Tide’s potential this latest haul.
Pruitt, Alabama’s 37-year-old secondary coach, played a central role in delivering many of the key figures that positioned the Crimson Tide to net the nation’s top recruiting class for the second straight year.
“This recognition should really go to our entire staff and to the University of Alabama,” Pruitt said. “I appreciate it, but I think you can look back at the last four or five classes here to know that I just have a small part in the recruiting process. When you are at a place like Alabama with our history and tradition, and you combine the fact that your head coach is the best in the country, high school players are excited to have a chance to play for the Crimson Tide.
“Coach Saban’s philosophy of providing an environment to help players develop on and off the field speaks for itself in terms of our academic success and graduation rates, as well as preparing our players for the next level.”
Pruitt is Bama’s recruiter of record at Daphne (Ala.) High School, where the Tide last month flipped five-star running back T.J. Yeldon from his standing Auburn commitment.
Five-star Eddie Williams was the top prospect in Florida for the 2012 cycle and was an early commit to Jeremy Pruitt and Alabama.
Fellow five-star linebacker teammate Ryan Anderson also counts among Pruitt’s landed targets.
Pruitt corralled a third five-star in Arnold (Fla.) receiver Eddie Williams as well as a quartet of four-star prospects, including former FSU line commitment Alphonse Taylor, top-50 receiver Chris Black, Top247 linebacker Tyler Hayes and junior college corner Travell Dixon.
Not too shabby for his second year on the job.
His territory is clearly marked: Anderson, Yeldon, Taylor and Hayes all hail from the southern part of the state, while Williams and Black reside in the Florida Panhandle below state lines. Only Dixon (Eastern Arizona College) came from outside the footprint, but is consistent with Alabama’s track record for dipping into the junior college ranks to fill a perceived need.
“Jeremy did an outstanding job and works extremely hard, but he would be the first to tell you that at Alabama we recruit as a team,” Saban said. “Everyone at the University of Alabama contributes in the recruiting process. I think it’s the University itself, the relationships of the people and the players, and the overall philosophy of the program that has allowed us to have the success we have had. All of our coaches are great recruiters and we work together to develop positive relationships with those we recruit.
“I think Jeremy did a great job of setting the table and developing a plan that would allow us to have the best chance to be successful, and we all helped to make that happen.”
That Pruitt has experienced immediate success comes as little surprise.
Coaching has appeared his desired career path since high school, and he is following in the footsteps of his father, who has coached in Alabama for 31 combined years – perhaps a contributing factor to Jeremy’s relationships developed within the state. To that end, Pruitt’s younger brother, Luke, worked at Jacksonville State before joining Dale’s staff at Plainview.
Five-star running back T.J. Yeldon was one of three five star prospects that Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt signed in the 2012 cycle.
Anderson, Yeldon, Taylor, Philon and Hayes all hail from the southern part of the state, while Williams and Black reside in the Florida Panhandle below state lines.
Furthermore, something could perhaps be said about Pruitt’s passion for Alabama contributing to his effective recruiting.
The Rainsville, Ala., native played two seasons at Middle Tennessee (1993-94) before transferring to Alabama be a walk-on under defensive coordinator Bill Oliver. Pruitt then stayed after his career to spend one year as a student assistant under Mike DuBose.
He spent three years on Hoover High School’s staff (2004-06) under Rush Propst before joining the Crimson Tide as director of player development. Saban promoted Pruitt to secondary coach in January 2010 when a staff opening was created by linebackers coach James Willis taking Texas Tech’s defensive coordinator post.
“There were several great recruiting efforts across the country this year, but none quite like Jeremy Pruitt’s,” 247Sports national recruiting analyst JC Shurburtt said. “He landed four players that were rated five stars when he landed them -- three ended up that way -- and signed two of the top players in the state of Florida in Eddie Williams and Chris Black.
“It’s no surprise he had a huge recruiting haul, as this has been in the works for years. He's one of the most overlooked and underrated recruiters in college football up until this point. The group of players he signed was superior.”
National Recruiter of the Year nominees
Shane Beamer, Virginia Tech
Dameyune Craig, Florida State
Mike Denbrock, Notre Dame
Jeff Hafley, Rutgers
Clint Hurtt, Louisville
Adrian Klemm, UCLA
Lorenzo Ward, South Carolina
Chip West, Virginia
BCS Conference Recruiters of the Year
ACC: Chip West, Virginia
Big East: Jeff Hafley, Rutgers
Big Ten: Mike Vrabel, Ohio State
Big 12: Jay Norvell, Oklahoma
SEC: Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama
Pac 12: Adrian Klemm, UCLA