Tennessee will have a running backs coach for the 2020 season with David Johnson leaving Rocky Top for a position on the Florida State staff.

Johnson, a New Orleans native, told reporters it was a difficult decision to make.

“This place is second to none when you’re talking about a support base and having so many people support you and the gameday atmosphere. That was really tough,” Johnson told GoVols247.

“My family wanted to get a little closer to home, with my son being in high school, and grandparents and everybody wanted to see him kind of play, so I had to take all that into consideration.”

UT coach Jeremy Pruitt made a pitch to Johnson to stay with the Vols.

“Me and Coach Pruitt had a really long talk,” Johnson said. “It was really good. I will always be indebted to him for giving me an opportunity to coach in this league, and he wanted me to stay, and I understood that. But I told him I had to do what’s best for the family at this point in time, me having a high school son.

“But, also, Coach Pruitt supported me. He said he wanted me to do what I thought was best for my family, and I appreciated that from him.”

Johnson was Memphis’ wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator in 2016 and ’17. Mike Norvell recently left Memphis to become the head coach at FSU.

“I’ve worked with Mike before,” Johnson said. “I understand that this is going to be a challenging situation. But I’m up for the challenge. I understand that. Just kind of getting a chance to work with Mike again, I think, is special. It’s work that I’ve been doing since I was a high school coach, so I get it.