Immediately after Jeremy Pruitt’s introductory press conference in Knoxville, Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer closed the session with the media by fielding questions. Among the questions asked by local media was the school’s willingness to build a support staff similar to the one Pruitt had just left in Tuscaloosa.

According to Fulmer, while he was unaware of the full scoop of the program Alabama had built at that time, he vowed Tennessee would put forth the resources to build something similar in Knoxville. Based on the coaching staff Pruitt has assembled, in addition to the growing number of support roles the school has made since that time, Fulmer was telling the truth.

Reaching back to his Hoover High roots, Pruitt’s latest addition is Brandon Sheppard. According to former Vol John Propst, who has a unique connection to Pruitt through his uncle Rush Propst (former Hoover head coach), Sheppard will be assistant director of football operations in Knoxville:

Before taking over this role at UT, Sheppard was director of USA Football’s 7-on-7 Program. Prior to that, he was Hoover’s head athletic trainer during Pruitt’s time at the school.

That wasn’t Tennessee’s only recent addition, either. The Vols have also brought on assistant strength coach AJ Artis. He was on the Duke’s strength staff the last two seasons, and on Appalachian State’s staff prior to landing with the Blue Devils. He will, of course, work under Tennessee’s director of strength training Craig Fitzgerald.