Kevin Steele is set to join Tennessee’s staff in an unspecified role, ESPN’s Chris Low reported on Tuesday.
The news comes one week after FootballScoop first reported of Tennessee’s interest in Steele:
Tennessee particularly has interest in trying to lure both Steele and Rodney Garner away from Auburn, but Jeremy Pruitt’s future on Rocky Top is murky, at best, amidst an ongoing internal and external investigation into the football program.
“Pruitt would already hire both if he could,” said a source, echoing that of other sources with direct knowledge.
Steele spent the past five years as Auburn’s defensive coordinator — his peers selected him the FootballScoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2017 — and pushed hard for the Tigers’ head coaching position, which ultimately went to Bryan Harsin.
A former Vols linebacker, Steele coached under Johnny Majors from 1980-82 and again from 1987-88.
In addition to those connections to the school, Steele is also acquainted to Jeremy Pruitt. The pair worked together from 2007-08 at Alabama, when Steele was Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator and Pruitt the director of player development.
While the hiring of Steele is big news for Steele himself, it could say more about the program he’s joining.
Tennessee has been under internal investigation for alleged recruiting violations under Pruitt, which prompted the athletics department to place the football program on a hiring freeze. This led to speculation Pruitt could be on his way out as Tennessee’s head coach.
But by adding Steele, Tennessee could be indicated the freeze is over and Pruitt will remain as the head Vol.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.