Vols Set to Host Top Remaining Target, 4-Star Point Guard

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    (Photo by Jon Lopez/AllBuffs.com)

    The Vols are likely down to just one main target remaining in their 2018 recruiting class. And they’re getting him to come to Knoxville on a big official visit soon.

    James Akinjo is a four-star point guard and top 100 overall player in the 2018 class, and he’s set to visit Tennessee on an official visit next weekend per a report from 247Sports. Akinjo is the No. 95 overall player and 17th-best point guard in the 2018 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

    Tennessee currently doesn’t have a commit in their 2018 class, and they only have one scholarship to hand out in this cycle. Unless someone transfers off the current roster, the Vols can only add one player this offseason whether that’s a true freshman, transfer, or grad transfer player. And it appears Akinjo is their last remaining target when it comes to true freshmen.

    The Vols have reportedly reached out to a couple of transfer players over the last week. Utah State guard Koby McEwen has reportedly been contacted by Tennessee as has Houston Baptist forward David Caraher. Tennessee reaching out to those players can be taken one of two ways: Either they’re not confident they can land a recruit in their 2018 class or they think someone is going to transfer off the roster this year and will try to replace them for next season (both McEwen and Caraher would have to sit out this season due to transfer rules because they’re not grad transfers).

    But the news about Akinjo coming to Tennessee on an official visit is a good sign for Tennessee in their continued pursuit of him.

    Arizona seems to have emerged as a slight favorite for Akinjo over the last few days, but the Vols will try to persuade him over to their side before he makes a decision. The final signing period for the 2018 class begins on April 11th and players have until May 16th to sign with a school before the 2018 recruiting cycle comes to a close.

    Tennessee assistant Michael Schwartz visited Akinjo at his home in Richmond, California back on March 27th, and Akinjo has hosted several other coaches of other schools as well. Arizona, Georgetown, and Wichita State are considered the Vols’ biggest opponents in Akinjo’s recruitment.

    According to D1Circuit.com, Akinjo averaged 13.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and shot 39.1 percent from three during Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, Peach Jam, and tournament play over the summer last year. His play steadily got better as the summer progressed, and he shined particularly in the Peach Jam portion, earning MVP honors. In five recorded games this season during high school, he averaged 24 points per game and five assists.

    Akinjo was just named an All-American by BallIsLife.com this week as well.

    Tennessee’s other targets in their 2018 class are either no longer options or seem like long shots. Five-star guard Anfernee Simons decided to declare for the NBA Draft, and three-star in-state point guard Tyler Harris seems to be leaning much more towards Baylor and away from Tennessee.

    Akinjo is likely the Vols’ top and only remaining target in their 2018 class, so expect them to pull out all the stops to try and land him.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.