Tennessee lands 2017 big man

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Rick Barnes reeled in his first commit in the Class of 2017.

Zach Kent, a 7-foot center, verbally committed to Tennessee on Sunday afternoon, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN. The Volunteers beat out Northwestern. Kent had visited Knoxville two weeks ago and was in Evanston the following weekend.

Kent is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals. However, ESPN has him as a four-star recruit.

Barnes and his staff need to put an emphasis on big men in this current recruiting class. The 2016-17 roster includes on three players who stand taller than 6-foot-5. Kyle Alexander, a 6-foot-10 sophomore who made 11 starts in his first season, is pegged as the starter. Outside of him are two newcomers: freshman John Fulkerson, rated as a three-star recruit in the Class of 2016, and graduate transfer Lew Evans, who averaged 8.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season for Utah State.

The Vols are still in play for Isaiah Stokes, a 6-foot-9 power forward, who visited Tennessee in early September, according to Rivals.