VolQuest - BREAKING: Pruitt makes initial staff hires
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BREAKING: Pruitt makes initial staff hires

Tennessee will introduce Jeremy Pruitt officially later this evening, but the Vols' new head coach is already getting a head-start on his coaching staff.

Pruitt reportedly impressed Phillip Fulmer in the interview process with his strong plan for a coaching staff. Pruitt had a detailed plan for his staff already mapped out and sure enough, Pruitt is moving fast already.

Earlier today, word leaked that Will Friend — Pruitt's college roommate at Alabama — will join the staff as Tennessee's offensive line coach. Friend could retain other titles, too, after serving as Colorado State's OC/OL coach the last three seasons. Pruitt and Friend coached together at Georgia in 2014.

One of Pruitt's most important hires also appears done.

Sources tell Volquest that Southern Cal's Tyson Helton is expected to take the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach role for the Vols. Helton, 38, served as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Southern Cal since 2016, tutoring Sam Darold.

Helton spent two seasons at Western Kentucky before going to USC, where the Hilltoppers broke more than two dozen school records.

As of now, it's unclear if Pruitt will split his offensive coordinator duties or if Helton will assume all responsibilities. Friend could be the run game coordinator and Helton the passing game coordinator.

Meanwhile, former Vol Terry Fair is also joining Pruitt's staff.

Fair is returning to Knoxville where he started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Butch Jones. Sources say that Fair, Friend and Helton will be in Knoxville as early as tonight or in the morning ready to recruit.

Sources also indicate to Volquest that Pruitt would like to keep Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie on his staff.

Gillespie is under contract with the Vols through next year.

There's plenty of other rumblings about the rest of Pruitt's staff, too.