Report: Vols “Out of the Race” for Kerry Blackshear

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    (Photo via Lee Luther Jr./AP)

    After hosting him on an official visit and waiting for an extended period of time for a decision, it appears that Tennessee is out of the race for the most coveted grad transfer on the market.

    According to Grant Ramey of 247Sports, Tennessee is “out of the race” for Virginia Tech grad transfer Kerry Blackshear.

    “Former Virginia Tech power forward¬†Kerry Blackshear Jr. is expected to go public with his transfer destination at some point Wednesday night, but the Vols won’t be the landing spot,” Ramey writes. “Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas A&M are other schools that have been involved, as well as the Hokies recruiting him to return to his previous school.”

    Tennessee hosted Blackshear on an official visit a couple weeks ago during the weekend, and he took a trip to Kentucky that following week. He also took official visits to Arkansas and Florida, and it was believed he would take an official visit to Texas A&M to see his former head coach at Virginia Tech, Buzz Williams, with the Aggies. But Blackshear never took that visit, and it prompted many to believe Blackshear would announce his decision this past Sunday.

    That announcement never came. In fact, that announcement still hasn’t come. But it’s believed now that the Vols aren’t the school Blackshear will be choosing.

    The 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists this past season with Virginia Tech. He shot 50.8 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from three in 35 starts.

    Blackshear would’ve brought a solid veteran presence to Tennessee’s young frontcourt. The Vols will feature two seniors at guard in Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden, but Tennessee doesn’t have anyone outside of John Fulkerson with much collegiate experience at the forward position.

    In order to add Blackshear, Tennessee was going to have to make room on their roster. The Vols are currently full on scholarships with 13 total for the upcoming 2019-20 season. After signing four prospects and bringing in two transfers, Tennessee filled all the scholarship spots they had available after a busy offseason.

    With Kyle Alexander and Admiral Schofield graduating, Grant Williams and Jordan Bone entering the 2019 NBA Draft, and Derrick Walker transferring, Tennessee had a total of six scholarships available for their 2019-20 roster. The Vols filled all those before the Blackshear sweepstakes really ramped up.

    Tennessee signed five-star guard Josiah Jordan-James, four-star forward Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua, three-star forward Drew Pember, and three-star small forward Davonte Gaines in their 2019 signing class. The Vols also brought in Arizona State center Uros Plavsic and Oregon guard Victor Bailey Jr. as transfers. Bailey will redshirt this upcoming season and will not be eligible to play per NCAA transfer rules. Tennessee is working on getting a waiver for the seven-foot Plavsic to play this upcoming season, however.

    While Blackshear still has not made an official announcement, Florida appears the favorite at this time. But wherever he chooses, it looks like it won’t be Tennessee.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    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.