UT close on Tyler Smith

Tennessee appears to be inching ever closer to a public commitment from one of the state's premier basketball players.

Tyler Smith, a 6-7, 220-pound senior forward for Giles County High of Pulaski, will visit the UT campus Sept. 4, the same weekend the Vol football team opens against Nevada-Las Vegas.

''If everything goes how I feel and how I expect, I'll probably commit,'' Smith told Jeff Goodman of TheInsiders.com.

Smith, a top-50 national prospect, is considered a key ''get'' for Buzz Peterson's program. The Vols have not been signing their share of the top in-state prospects lately, so Peterson needs to reverse this alarming trend ... especially since the homegrown talent for 2004 and 2005 is exceptional.

The Vols already have two commitments for the November, 2004 early signing class -- 6-foot-9 Joey Cameron of Leeds, Ala., and 6-2 Jarvis Hill of Starkville, Miss. Tennessee also is believed to be in good shape for guard Jamont Gordon of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy and 5-foot-9 point guard Devon Downey of Chester, S.C.

Steve Wright, who coached Gordon at Nashville's Glencliff High School prior to his transfer to Oak Hill, recently said he thinks Gordon should attend the University of Memphis. Meanwhile, Tennessee's stiffest competition for Downey appears to be Maryland and South Carolina.

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