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Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt one of 40 nominees for Broyles Award

Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt one of 40 nominees for the 2016 Broyles Award: Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

TUSCALOOSA—Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is benefiting from his second stint on Nick Saban’s staff.

In his return, the Rainsville, Ala., native has been a huge contributor to an undefeated season—mentoring one of college football’s fiercest groups. On Thursday, Pruitt was named among 40 others as a nominee for the Broyles Award. Named after Frank Broyles, the honor is presented to the nation’s best assistant coach.

Under Pruitt, the Tide has been nothing short of dominant.

It carries the nation’s top run defense (68.9 ypg), while being second in scoring defense (11.4 ppg) and total defense (252.6 ypg). His aggressive style provides freedom for defensive end Jonathan Allen and outside linebacker Tim Williams, as both combined have 15 of the team’s 40 sacks. Pruitt was one of the coaches that helped recruit Reuben Foster in 2013, prior to leaving for Florida State. Foster, a native of Auburn, Ala., has blossomed as a senior.  He leads the unit in tackles (75), and has nine tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and two pass breakups. Foster is a finalist for the Butkus Award and is projected a first-round draft value.

Like his boss, Pruitt is a secondary coach at heart.

Alabama’s secondary has forced 10 interceptions, including four for touchdowns. Overall, the Tide’s defense chimes in with nine scores (five fumble returns). Alabama will host Auburn this week, before taking on Florida in the Southeastern Conference title game and awaiting its opponent for the College Football Playoff.

The 42-year-old is in search of his fifth national championship, and fourth with Alabama. Five finalists will be selected for the Broyles Award and will travel to Marriott Hotel in Little Rock, Ark., for the ceremony.

A winner shall be announced Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 1:00 p.m.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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