Glory Johnson commits to UT

The Lady Vols got the final piece of their recruiting puzzle Monday when five-star standout Glory Johnson verbally committed to Tennessee. Johnson is the sixth commitment from the class of 2008 and tops off a recruiting haul for Pat Summitt and staff that will keep the Lady Vols in contention for championships.

Glory Johnson announced her decision Monday at Webb School of Knoxville and came up with a creative way to include her high school teammates. The players wore T-shirts with the names of the schools that had recruited Johnson, and she discussed the recruiting decision one-by-one. As a school was eliminated the player walked off the stage. The Tennessee-clad teammate was the last player remaining.

"Totally Glory's idea," said Webb Coach Shelley Sexton Collier. "She's very bright. She's very smart."

Johnson also is very good on the basketball court. Collier said Johnson is the most-athletic player she has ever coached.

"The sky's the limit," Collier said. "She's an extremely gifted athlete."

Johnson, a 6'3 Parade All-American forward, helped lead Webb to a state championship last season and was the Gatorade State Player of the Year in 2007. She was recruited by schools across the country and made official visits to Tennessee, UCLA, North Carolina and Clemson.

Collier said the announcement of the decision came as a relief to Johnson, who will sign her Letter of Intent next week when the early signing period begins on Nov. 14. Summitt can't discuss any recruits until after Tennessee receives the signed LOIs.

"I'm happy for Glory," Collier said. "I'm excited for Tennessee. I know she will make Webb and her family very proud of her."

The recruiting process has changed significantly since Collier, then Shelley Sexton, went to Tennessee in 1983 out of nearby Anderson County High School in Lake City. Now, players are identified early as collegiate targets, and there are events across the country to showcase their skills in front of dozens of college coaches.

"It's just much bigger," Collier said. "Girls basketball has become much more elevated. Recruiting has gotten huge. It's much more complicated than when I went through it."

Johnson, who has been rated a five-star prospect by Scout, joins five other players who have committed to Tennessee. They are: Briana Bass, 5'2 point guard, North Central High School, Indianapolis; Alyssia Brewer, 6'3 forward, Sapulpa High School, Sapulpa, Okla.; Amber Gray, 6'1 forward, Lakota West High School, West Chester, Ohio; Alicia Manning, 6'0 guard/forward, Etowah High School, Woodstock, Ga., and Shekinna Stricklen, 6'2 forward, Morrilton High School, Morrilton, Ark.

Johnson made her official visit to Tennessee on Oct. 6 with the other five recruits.

"Glory's a people person," Collier said. "She values relationships. She values teammates. She's very humble. She's very grateful."

Tennessee has filled needs at every position – four starters will depart next spring plus senior wing player Alberta Auguste – with the commitments from the class of 2008. Tennessee's class of 2007 - Vicki Baugh, Angie Bjorklund, Kelley Cain and Sydney Smallbone - was rated the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, and the class of 2008 can make a case for that lofty position as well.

Johnson has an "ability to run, jump and be explosive," Collier said. She is also an outstanding sprinter with speed heretofore unseen in the women's game.

Bass will be counted on to run the show during her tenure at Tennessee. Manning and Stricklen are excellent shooters. Gray and Johnson will bring the muscle and presence in the paint. Both are physical players who don't back away from contact. Brewer, a lefty, is a guard who grew into a post player's body. She is very athletic and can make shots and handle the ball.

Collier said Johnson was happy after the decision and seemed relieved to have the recruiting process completed.

"I look forward to watching her finish out her high school year," Collier said.

Collier, who played for Pat Summitt from 1983 to 1987 and was on the first team to win a national title at Tennessee, has no qualms about turning over her star player to the Lady Vol system in a year.

"Pat and her staff do an excellent job," Collier said. "It's a good get for them."

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