4. Eli Wolf to Georgia, Jim Chaney to Tennessee
Jeremy Pruitt and Kirby Smart are two of three head coaches in the SEC to have helped Nick Saban win a national title while serving as his defensive coordinator, and they both did it with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Now, they’re rivals in the SEC East. And the tradeoffs between the two were on display this week at SEC Media Days.
The Vols got Smart’s offensive coordinator with the Georgia Bulldogs, Jim Chaney, luring him back to where he served under Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley for four years. While Pruitt propped up Chaney, Smart didn’t say anything to hint at bitterness when asked about the question.
"“I know he’s going to one of our rivals, and we understand that and respect that. The fact he knows our personnel, I think that the game of football boils down to football players making plays, and there’s not going to be anything that Jim Chaney or myself can do out there on that field that our players aren’t going to control.”"
However, while Smart lost Chaney to the Vols, he did gain somebody in Eli Wolf. A longtime Vols tight end and the brother of Ethan Wolf, Eli Wolf figured to start alongside Dominick Wood-Anderson this year at UT.
Smart got him to transfer to UGA, though. And yes, that was a topic brought up with the players for the Dawgs at this year’s event. Although there wasn’t much to it, all three players who went with Smart did have some things to say about Wolf.
While Jake Fromm and Andrew Thomas called him athletic, a great fit and a great person, it was actually a defensive guy, safety J.R. Reed, also gave him a big endorsement. Here’s what he said about Wolf.
"“He has been competing. Everyone is hungry and Eli has shown us that he has been competing.”"
It’s worth noting that Deangelo Gibbs is a safety who transferred from UGA to the Vols, and his eligibility status is up in the air. However, he was not brought up to Georgia during the event this week, so we left him off here.