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Tennessee making unprecedented financial commitment to Jeremy Pruitt and staff

Jeremy Pruitt

Tennessee is making an unprecedented financial commitment to Jeremy Pruitt and what is expected to be a top-tier group of assistant coaches.

The University of Tennessee is giving Pruitt, soon to be formally introduced by athletics director Phillip Fulmer as the Volunteers next head coach, a six-year deal worth not quite $4 million on average – or nearly a million more annually than the six-year pact Butch Jones was awarded when he was hired in December 2012.

Jones was fired last month after his fifth season spiraled into disaster with blowout losses, fights among teammates, and other controversies.

Pruitt is taking less personal money to blow-out his assistants’ earning potential. The Vols will allocate a whopping sum of approximately $5 million for Pruitt’s staff.

Among early candidate names to emerge are USC quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Tyson Helton on offense along with Colorado State offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Will Friend. On defense, South Carolina’s assistant head coach of defense and defensive line coach Lance Thompson, Georgia outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer, longtime SEC defensive assistant coach Tracy Rocker and former Clemson defensive assistant and current Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach Marion Hobby are among potential staff additions.

Terry Fair, a two-time All-SEC selection for the Vols in the mid-1990s, has also been mentioned. Fair has spent the last three seasons coaching cornerbacks at Colorado State.

The Colorado State staff has such an SEC feel to it – former Alabama center and Georgia offensive line coach Friend, mentioned above, in addition to Fair – because the Rams’ head coach is former Georgia quarterback and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

Fair was a defensive quality control assistant at Tennessee in 2013 and 2014.

RELATED: SEC dominates list of top coordinators salaries in college football.

(You can follow John Brice on Twitter @JohnDBrice1)

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