New York Power Forward Commits To Tennessee

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    Following a weekend official visit to Knoxville, New York power forward Tobe Awaka committed to Tennessee on his Instagram Tuesday morning.

    “Happy to announce that as a member of the class of 2023, I will be committing to the University of Tennessee,” Awaka said on Instagram.

    A year after striking gold and landing lowly ranked Zakai Zeigler out of New York City, Rick Barnes and his staff are trying their luck in the Big Apple again.

    Awaka is an unranked prospect according to 247sports composite rankings and other major recruiting sites. The Vols were just one of 11 programs to offer the power forward, joining Pittsburgh and St. Johns as the only power six schools to offer the physical big man.

    Tennessee offered Awaka at the end of April and quickly got the power forward on campus before securing his commitment.

    Despite the lack of star power or abundance of big time offers, Awaka dominated in his senior high school season at Cardinal Hayes. Awaka recorded 19.2 points, 13.9 rebounds and three blocks a game on his way to earning New York Gatorade Player of the Year Honors.

    The Bronx native is currently in the 2023 recruiting class where he would become the Vols’ first commit. Like Zeigler did a season ago, Awaka could reclassify into the 2022 class becoming the third prep commit and the fourth incoming player along with Indiana State transfer Tyreke Key.

    At 6-foot-8, 240 pounds Awaka brings physicality and elite rebounding to the paint. With the Vols returning three big men that played prominent roles a season ago and the versatility of Julian Phillips and Josiah-Jordan James, Tennessee wouldn’t expect a major contribution from Awaka if he enrolled ahead of next season.

    After losing Kennedy Chandler to the NBA and five players to the transfer portal following the end of the 2021-22 season, Tennessee now has three scholarship spots left to fill before the start of the season if Awaka stays in the 2023 class and two scholarships to fill if he’s in the 2022 class.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.