KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former Tennessee running back Jay Graham is returning to his alma mater to work a second stint as the Volunteers’ running backs coach.

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt announced the hire Thursday and said in a statement that Graham “is one of the best assistant coaches in the country.” Graham agreed to a two-year deal that will pay him $575,000 each year.

Graham spent the past two seasons coaching Texas A&M’s running backs. He replaces David Johnson, who left Tennessee to become the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator on new Florida State coach Mike Norvell’s staff.

Graham gained 2,609 career yards rushing at Tennessee from 1993-96. He worked as a graduate assistant at Tennessee in 2005 and was the Vols’ running backs coach in 2012.

He left Tennessee in 2013 to join a Florida State staff that included Pruitt as defensive coordinator. The Seminoles won the national title that season.

“He has tremendous work ethic and an impressive ability to connect with young people,” Pruitt said. “I was impressed by Jay from the start of our time working together and winning a national championship in 2013.”

Graham stayed on Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State staff from 2013-17 before following him to Texas A&M. Graham coached South Carolina’s running backs from 2009-11 and also has worked at Miami (Ohio), Tennessee-Martin, San Diego and Chattanooga.

Since 2013, six running backs coached by Graham have been drafted. His running backs have included Devonta Freeman and Dalvin Cook at Florida State, Trayveon Williams at Texas A&M and Marcus Lattimore at South Carolina.


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