So much for Tennessee being on a hiring freeze.

After speculation began regarding this potential hire on Rocky Top in recent days, Tennessee has officially made the move to bring former Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele according to Chris Low of ESPN.

Which position Steele will take on Tennessee’s coaching staff remains to be determined.

Steele was available to be hired after Auburn dismissed Gus Malzahn and hired former Boise State coach Bryan Harsin. Harsin then turned around and hired Derek Mason to be his defensive coordinator on The Plains.

Steele has a long history in the SEC, coaching at Auburn, Alabama LSU and Tennessee. Steele is also a graduate of Tennessee and began his coaching career in Knoxville.

Following Auburn’s decision to fire Malzahn, Steele was named the program’s interim coach and was rumored to be the next Auburn head coach before the school moved to hire Harsin.

While this is a big move for Tennessee, it doesn’t solve the biggest question in Knoxville right now, which is the status of head coach Jeremy Pruitt. This looks to be a promising sign for Pruitt, but Tennessee fans are well aware of the fact that things can change in a hurry on Rocky Top.

For now, Tennessee has something to point to regarding some positive momentum as the Vols are bringing in one of the most respected defensive minds and recruiters the SEC has to offer in Steele.

(Photo credit Auburn Athletics)