Hopson is All Vol

Just when you thought Bruce Pearl couldn't do anything for an encore to follow up on a record setting 31-win season, he pulls off a show stopper with the commitment of No. 3 shooting guard (or small forward) and top ten talent Scotty Hopson.

The five-star prospect from Hopkinsville, Ky., made his decision while on his official visit to UT, becoming the first top 10 ranked player Pearl has signed in his three seasons at Tennessee. He also becomes the man most likely to replace Chris Lofton as the Vols first long-range option.

Hopson confirmed his plans earlier this evening to Scout.com's Dave Telep via the cell phone. "I'm on the visit," Hopson said. "My momma gave me her consent (to commit). I'm in a great position and I'm going to make the best of it."

Hopson originally committed to Mississippi State last year only to reopen the recruiting process. He was still considering the Bulldogs along with in-state powers Louisville and Kentucky. Texas and Cincinnati were other schools Hopson looked at before the Vols eventually scored a major recruiting coup that helps assure UT will be in the SEC title picture again next season.

Moreover the 6-foot-7, 190-pound wing brings size that Lofton didn't possess as well as an ability to create off the dribble and superior quickness. Whereas Pearl's first three seasons featured basically a three-guard set, the 2008-2009 squad could feature four starters at 6-7 and taller. And if J.P. Prince plays point with Hopson at shooting guard they could have five positions at 6-6 and over.

Although odds may never favor such a scenario it does illustrate the infusion of size and athletic ability Hopson adds to the backcourt and the difficulty opponents will face against UT's pressure defense.

Hopson had a standout senior season for University Heights Academy which culminated at Rupp Arena in the McDonald's All-American contest.

Other highlights included:

• Against St. Henry in the All "A" Classic played at Eastern Kentucky this season Hopson scored 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting with 12 boards.

• At the Commodore Classic in University Heights Academy's second game of the season, he put up 32 points on a 16-of-32 shooting night against Tates Creek High School.

• In an earlier contest against Adair County Hopson displayed his entire palette of tools, posting 18 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals and five assists.

• Hopson scored 31 in a Regional semifinal victory over Henderson County. * In a defeat to Lexington Catholic in the the Sweet 16 Hopson scored 21 points and grabbed nine boards.

Hopson is the fourth prospect to commit to UT's Class of 2008 joining center Phillip Jurick and power forward Renaldo Wooldrige who signed in November, The Vols are expected to sign point guard Daniel West this month, giving Pearl his most balanced class in terms of position since he arrived on the scene in the spring of 2005.

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