Vol Coaches Set to Visit Five-Star Center

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    (Photo via Jordan Wells/TheHoosier.com)

    The success of Tennessee’s basketball team during the 2017-18 season has allowed the Vols’ coaching staff to open up new avenues of recruiting that were previously unavailable to them. The Vols are still looking to add someone in their 2018 class, and they have been pursuing some big names in the 2019 class over the last few months. They’ve made progress on several of those recruits in the 2019 cycle.

    Now Tennessee’s coaches are set to visit one of the top players in the country in the next recruiting cycle.

    According to Jake Weingarten of StockRisers.com, both Tennessee and Michigan State will send coaches to visit with 2019 five-star center Isaiah Stewart on Monday.

    Stewart is rated as the No. 25 overall player and No. 8 center in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He hails from Rochester, New York and holds offers from three dozen schools. Duke, Georgetown, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, UConn, Kansas, Florida, Louisville, Memphis, Xavier, Texas, and many others have all offered him. The good news for Tennessee is that they were the first team to offer him when they gave him a scholarship offer back in April of 2016.

    But since then, Stewart’s recruitment has exploded.

    The 6-foot-8, 243 pound center has picked up dozens of offers since Tennessee gave him his first, and he’s had numerous visits from top tier coaches and has visited a number of premier programs. Indiana’s Archie Miller just visited Stewart on Sunday, and both Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Jim Boeheim of Syrcause visited him earlier this month. Stewart also visited Villanova’s campus on Saturday, just days after they won their second national title in three years.

    Stewart isn’t some pudgy center who just has a big frame and is able to bully smaller players at the high school level; his 6-foot-8, 243 pound frame is already sculpted into solid muscle. And it’s easy to see from his highlight film why so many schools want him. He has great athleticism and can move extremely well for a power forward/center. He’s strong in the post and has a variety of moves down low. He knows how to use his frame to position for rebounds and is an effective glass cleaner. Not only that, but he can actually pass pretty well too.

    As a junior, Stewart averaged 20.2 points and 11.3 rebounds a game and was named an honorable mention for the MaxPreps Junior All-American team.

    The Vols are making center and power forward a priority in the 2019 class. Current forward Kyle Alexander will be graduating at the end of the 2018-19 season, and Tennessee doesn’t currently have anyone on the roster set to replace him who has they type of skills that Alexander possesses. Tennessee’s coaches are looking for a replacement for him in the 2019 class, as they’ve offered five power forwards and nine centers in the 2019 cycle.

    Four-star center D.J. Burns recently visited the Vols, and the Vols have offered several in-state players at center as well. Tennessee could have anywhere between two to four scholarships available for their 2019 class depending on how the 2018 cycle goes, and they could have more if any player declares early for the NBA draft or elects to transfer after this upcoming season.

    Right now, the Vols have one commitment in their 2019 class, and that’s from three-star small forward Devonte Gaines.

    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.