A Look at the Vols’ Top Targets in Men’s Basketball

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    Shooting Guard

    (Photo via Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean)

    Jaden Springer, IMG Academy (FL)  – No. 10 overall, No. 3 SG

    Keon Johnson, Bell Buckle (TN) –  No. 31 overall, No. 6 SG

    Matthew Murrell, Memphis (TN) – No. 57 overall, No. 11 SG

    Aside from the player Tennessee already has committed to them in their 2020 class, UT’s two biggest targets in the 2020 cycle both play shooting guard. Five-star Jaden Springer and borderline five-star and No. 1 in-state prospect Keon Johnson are at the top of Tennessee’s board, and both could end up part of the Vols’ class.

    Tennessee is sitting in a very good spot with Keon Johnson, the star guard who plays for The Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN. Johnson named Tennessee as one of his three finalists along with Ohio State and Virginia, and he has an announcement date set for August 6th. Johnson has visited UT multiple times, and Tennessee’s coaches have gone and watched him play at various events multiple times as well. Johnson just took a visit to Ohio State this past weekend, and the Buckeyes might be the team to give Tennessee the most fight for Johnson. Virginia shouldn’t be counted out, though.

    Springer is the highest-rated prospect on Tennessee’s board who they have a realistic shot at landing. Blue bloods like North Carolina and Villanova have started to get involved with Springer, so that’s going to make things even more difficult with him. But Springer only took one official visit during the spring period, and it was to Tennessee. That stands out a lot, as does his relationship with UT’s coaches. Springer is originally from North Carolina, but he’s been at IMG Academy in Florida for the last couple years.

    In-state shooting guard Matthew Murrell has been on UT’s board for a bit, and Tennessee’s coaches have visited him this past spring and will keep in touch with him. But Murrell seems destined to end up with Vanderbilt or the Memphis Tigers unless something changes. Vanderbilt hired his high school head coach as an assistant on staff, so that seems to be a big factor in their favor. Still, Murrell has interest in the Vols and should be a name to keep an eye on.

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    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.