TALLAHASSEE — Florida State named Alabama secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt its defensive coordinator on Thursday and also named former Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri its defensive ends coach.
Pruitt, 38, will be the third defensive coordinator at FSU in the past 28 years, following Mark Stoops, who left to become Kentucky's head coach, and Mickey Andrews.
Pruitt has been on Nick Saban's staff for three years. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher was Saban's offensive coordinator at LSU.
Under Pruitt, who is known as an effective recruiter, the Tide ranked in the top 15 in pass defense the past three seasons.
Pruitt will spend the next two weeks helping prepare the Crimson Tide for the Jan. 7 BCS title game against Notre Dame.
Pruitt and Sunseri will officially begin their FSU duties Jan. 5. Sunseri was fired last month after a year as Vols defensive coordinator.
FSU plays Northern Illinois in the Jan. 1 Orange Bowl.
"This is a great opportunity for me to join another one of the top college football programs in the country and take over as defensive coordinator for one of the best defenses out there," said Pruitt, who will make slightly more than $542,000 annually.
USF adds two from Taggart's WKU staff
TAMPA — USF hired assistant coaches Walt Wells and Nick Sheridan, who were members of new Bulls coach Willie Taggart's staff at Western Kentucky.
Wells will serve as offensive coordinator and coach the offensive line. Sheridan, whose father, Bill, is the Bucs' defensive coordinator, will handle quarterbacks and serve as passing-game coordinator.
Wells played offensive line for Austin Peay from 1986-89. Sheridan was a walk-on at Michigan in 2006 and earned a scholarship before his junior season, playing quarterback.
"Walt Wells and Nick Sheridan are great teachers and great mentors," Taggart said. "Both played a critical role in building the foundation at WKU."
BYU pulls away late: Linebacker Kyle Van Noy forced a fumble in the end zone and recovered it for a touchdown, and scored on a 17-yard interception return, both in the fourth quarter, to lead BYU to a 23-6 victory over San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.
The big plays swung the momentum for the Cougars (8-5) in what had been a defensive struggle. San Diego State (9-4) missed a chance for its first 10-win season since 1977.
Van Noy hit Adam Dingwell's arm in the end zone, forcing and recovering a fumble for a 10-6 lead. Dingwell fumbled the snap on SDSU's next play and defensive back Jordan Johnson recovered at the 14. Jamaal Williams scored on a run up the middle on the next play. Dingwell finished with five turnovers, including three interceptions. Four of his turnovers were in the fourth quarter.
North carolina SCANDAL: An investigation of academic fraud at North Carolina found the problems were confined to wrongdoing by former African studies department chairman Julius Nyang'oro and administrator Deborah Crowder and didn't involve other faculty or members of the athletic department. The report also found that the problems go back to 1997, earlier than previously uncovered. The investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin said the Department of African and Afro-American Studies remained at the heart of the scandal. Jon Sasser, a lawyer for fired coach Butch Davis, said the report cleared his reputation.
Bray leaving vols? Starting quarterback Tyler Bray is leaving Tennessee early for the NFL, CBS Sports reported. The 6-6, 220-pounder had 69 touchdown passes and 28 interceptions in his career.
ALABAMA: Linebacker C.J. Mosley said he will return for his senior season.
Auburn: Rodney Garner, the longtime recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach at Georgia, has accepted a position as assistant head coach and defensive line coach with the Tigers, where he played in the late '80s.
LSU: Punter Brad Wing was suspended for the Chick-fil-A Bowl for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Penn State: Junior college quarterback Tyler Ferguson signed a letter of intent and is expected to compete for the starting job with Steven Bench, the only other scholarship QB.
UCLA: Receiver Devin Lucien will return in the Holiday Bowl after breaking his collarbone Sept. 29.
Utah state: Offensive coordinator Matt Wells was promoted to head coach. He replaces Gary Andersen, who was officially hired by Wisconsin on Thursday.