The Tennessee Volunteers landed a verbal commitment from 2017 center Zach Kent on Sunday, per a report from Jeff Borzello of ESPN.
Kent, a three-star recruit, is 181st in 247Sports’ composite score. He is ranked as the No. 19 center in the nation and the No. 7 in the state of Delaware. However, he currently plays at Blair Academy in New Jersey.
“I loved my visit, the practice, the staff, and the players,” Kent said, per Scout.com. “I want to play with those guys. In order for me to achieve what I want UT is where I need and want to be.”
247Sports predicted that Kent would commit to Northwestern after visiting both them and Tennessee. He had offers from several power five schools, but ultimately chose to join the Volunteers. He is the first pickup of the 2017 class for second-year head coach Rick Barnes.
The Tennessee staff has been in the hunt for size in the 2017 class while prioritizing Kent and other centers. They are also in the hunt for post-scoring big man Isaiah Stokes. Jarnell Stokes, a former Volunteers’ standout and current NBA forward for the Denver Nuggets, is his older brother.
Sophomore Kyle Alexander is the only player on the Volunteers’ roster taller than 6-7. A 6-10 center like Kent helps them improve on their lack of size.
The Volunteers went 15-19 in Barnes’ first season last year. A tournament regular in the mid-2000s, the program have missed the “Big Dance” in four of the last five seasons. Tennessee is continuing to build a strong 2017 recruiting class in the hopes of making it back to the NCAA Tournament as soon as possible.