John Parker Wilson on Jeremy Pruitt's hire at UT: 'He scares me more at Tennessee than Kirby does at Georgia'
Following Georgia’s banner campaign last year in Kirby Smart’s second season back in Athens, which included an SEC title, a Rose Bowl Playoff win and nearly a national title, the Bulldogs rightly have been anointed as Alabama’s biggest looming threat in the Southeastern Conference.
While that may be the consensus, former standout Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson sees another emerging threat to the Crimson Tide’s dominance in the SEC — Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee program. In fact, Wilson has so much faith in Pruitt’s ability to lead the Volunteers back into relevancy, he believes Tennessee is a greater threat than Georgia at this point.
Wilson has a long history with Pruitt, going all the way back to high school when he played for Hoover High School. Pruitt was a defensive assistant on the team the team but has quickly risen to become one of the most respected coaches and recruiters in the nation.
The former Alabama QB isn’t at all surprised by the progression of his former coach. During a recent appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 radio show The Roundtable, Wilson expressed his confidence in Pruitt and what he will build at Tennessee.
“I think he’ll be wildly successful at Tennessee. I hope that he has enough success that he can come back and be the head coach at Alabama one day,” Wilson said on the show. “His ability to connect with people is something that I’ve never seen. Jeremy was a defensive back’s coach when I was at Hoover (High School). He wasn’t a coordinator, he was just a defensive back’s coach.
“The way he connects with people is unlike I’ve ever seen. He’s a great recruiter, that’s how he got his start and how he rose so fast thru Alabama then at Florida State. I think what he’s going to do at Tennessee, at a place like that, being the only show in town with Tennessee being the only big school in the state, he’s going to do well.”
The former Alabama quarterback was willing to go a step further in expressing his confidence in Pruitt, stating his belief that Tennessee could be the biggest looming threat to Alabama in the SEC — not Georgia.
“He scares me more at Tennessee than Kirby does at Georgia. Georgia is going to be good, but down the road, Jeremy scares me more than Kirby at Georgia,” Wilson added.
This is what Wilson had to say when asked to elaborate on that bold statement.
“I just think him as a head coach, not only recruiting but bringing in other coaches, having a good staff — we haven’t seen Tennessee really good in 10 years,” Wilson continued. “His ability to get them back, he’s got a higher ceiling than Georgia does; and I know the recruiting (UGA) can do just an hour down the road in Atlanta is pretty strong.
“When Tennessee was good, they were recruiting on a national level. They were getting quarterbacks from everywhere, receivers from everywhere. I think Jeremy has the ability to do that.”