Vols Land No. 1 In-State Player Keon Johnson

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    (Photo via Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean)

    Tuesday marked a huge moment for Tennessee’s future in men’s basketball.

    During a ceremony at his church in Shelbyville, Tennessee, borderline five-star shooting guard Keon Johnson announced his commitment to the Vols over his other finalist, Ohio State. Johnson previously had a final three of UT, Ohio State, and Virginia but eliminated the Cavaliers a few weeks ago.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Johnson is the No. 31 overall prospect, No. 6 shooting guard, and No. 1 player in the state of Tennessee. He’s the No. 27 overall recruit in the regular 247Sports rankings and is just outside of five-star range.

    Johnson plays for The Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN and is considered one of the premier perimeter defenders in high school basketball. He’s had a relationship with Tennessee’s coaches for a very long time, and he’s visited UT’s campus upwards of a dozen times throughout his high school career.

    Johnson’s commitment to the Vols marks the first time Tennessee has landed a commitment from the top player inside their own state borders since five-star Robert Hubbs III signed with the Vols in the 2013 class. A couple other notable in-state recruits who signed with the Vols are Jarnell Stokes, who was the No. 2 player in the state in 2012, and Wayne Chism, who was the No. 3 player in the state in 2006.

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    With Johnson’s commitment, three of Tennessee’s top eight highest-rated commits and signees over the last 15 years (according to 247Sports) have come in the last two recruiting cycles. Five-star guard Josiah Jordan-James and four-star 2020 commit Corey Walker are the other two along with Johnson.

    Johnson, who measures in around 6-foot-5, 180 pounds, is a tremendous defender and has a knack for picking off passes and blocking shots. He uses his defense to fuel his offense, and he has a variety of ways he can score. Johnson can nail threes, hit pull-up jumpers, drive in the lane, and has some post moves as well. Johnson has a really impressive vertical and just seems to float higher and higher in the air as he skies for dunks. He’s more of a slasher to the basket, but his shooting has continued to improve. He’s a very well-rounded player with an extremely high ceiling.

    As a junior for The Webb School, Johnson averaged 24.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.0 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game according to MaxPreps. He shot 58.4 percent overall and 38.3 percent from three. In the Adidas Gauntlet back in April with his AAU team, EAB Tennessee, he averaged 21.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in seven games, shooting 49 percent overall according to Exposure Sports News.

    Johnson finished in the top three in overall scoring for the Adidas summer circuit. Along with his 21.1 points a game he averaged in April, Johnson averaged 23.8 points a game in five games in the Adidas Summer Championship according to his former head coach with EAB Tennessee, Mark Griffin.

    With Johnson’s commitment, the Vols now have two borderline five-stars committed to them in their 2020 class. Johnson joins small forward Corey Walker in Tennessee’s 2020 class. If both players end up signing and both remain ranked inside the top 50 overall prospects through the end of the 2020 cycle, it would mark the first time since the 2010 recruiting cycle that Tennessee has signed two top-50 prospects in the same class. The 2010 class saw the Vols sign five-star Tobias Harris and top-50 shooting guard Jordan McRae. Trae Golden also signed in that class and was a top-100 overall prospect.