The University of Tennessee's circuitous head-coaching search, which has taken on just about every twist imaginable, is nearing an end, as the Volunteers are finalizing a deal with Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, sources told ESPN.

Tennessee expects to announce Pruitt as its football coach on Thursday, and a press conference to introduce him is planned for later in the day. Sources told ESPN that Pruitt plans to stay on as Alabama's defensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff, while pulling double duty as the Vols' head coach and spearheading their recruiting efforts and putting together his staff at Tennessee.

Pruitt, 43, is in his second season as Alabama's defensive coordinator under Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide are ranked first nationally in scoring defense this season and second nationally in total defense. Pruitt also is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the SEC. As an assistant coach, he has been a part of four national championship teams.

Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee's former College Football Hall of Fame coach, replaced John Currie on Friday as the Vols' athletic director; he has spearheaded the coaching search ever since. Fulmer interviewed Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker on Tuesday in New York City. Fulmer notified Tucker on Wednesday that the school was going in a different direction.