Georgia head coach Mark Richt and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt are spending the month of January multitasking.
After stealing Pruitt away from Florida State in the wake of previous defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's departure to Louisville and losing several assistant coaches in the process, Pruitt has been charged over the last few weeks with holding together Georgia's recruiting class while looking for potential candidates to join his staff.
He hit a home run with his defensive line coach.
According to Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, veteran defensive line coach Tracy Rocker will join the Bulldogs staff after not being retained by the NFL's Tennessee Titans when former head coach Mike Munchak was let go earlier this month.
Rocker is excited about the move to Athens, according to Towers:
I grew up a Georgia fan. I got to watch them win the national championship in 1980. You grow older and become a player and things are different. But I’m very familiar with Georgia and the history of the program. I’m excited about getting to be a part of it.
The former Auburn defensive lineman and 1988 Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award winner is a veteran of several SEC staffs, including a five-year stint as Arkansas' defensive line coach from 2003-2007, one year at Ole Miss in 2008 and three seasons at his alma mater Auburn from 2009-2011.
In the 2010 season, he helped lead the Tigers to the SEC's top rush defense (109.07 YPG) and won SEC and BCS national titles. In three of his last five years in the SEC, his defenses have finished in the top five in the conference in tackles for loss.
He's a veteran coach who knows what it takes to win in the SEC, and more importantly, he knows the recruiting landscape in the SEC despite spending the last two seasons in the NFL.
Plus, in Athens, he'll have plenty of pieces to work with.
Five of the six players from Georgia's two-deep along the defense line return from last season including rising senior defensive end Ray Drew and starting nose guard Chris Mayes. On top of that, Georgia has 4-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard and 4-star defensive end Keyon Brown already committed, and it is right in the thick of the battle for 5-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter from Norcross, Ga.
Will Georgia finish in the top four in the SEC in rush defense in 2014?
Rocker brings experience and success to Athens, and he will have plenty of pieces to work with this offseason to revitalize a unit that massively underachieved under the former regime.
It isn't the ideal time for Pruitt to rebuild his staff, but he's successfully held together the recruiting class thus far, and he nabbed one of the best defensive line coaches in the country to help coach them up.
Consider Rocker's hire a home run for Richt and Pruitt.