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Sport: Here's who Tennessee basketball signed in No. 8-ranked recruiting class

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Tennessee basketball signed a top-10 class for the third time in the past four cycles.

The Vols signed four 2023 prospects at the start of the early signing period Wednesday, including a pair of 247Sports Composite top-40 prospects in guard Freddie Dilione and forward JP Estrella. The class ranks No. 8 nationally after UT signed the No. 5 classes in the 2020 and 2021 cycles.

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Here are the prospects the Vols signed:

Freddie Dilione

Measureables: 6-foot-4, 185 pounds

Ranking: No. 27 nationally, four-star

The skinny: Dilione rocketed up the recruiting rankings with an impressive summer circuit that propelled him into the top-30 recruits nationally. The guard from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina was ranked No. 152 and was No. 87 when he committed to UT in August before continuing to ascend.

The Vols envision Dilione being a versatile guard who can score and run the point. UT first saw Dilione at one of its summer camps in 2021. The staff made a point to continue watching Dilione, who emerged as a top priority after the Vols saw him play last season.

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What Rick Barnes said about Dilione: "Freddie is another guy we're thrilled about adding — he is the definition of a 'Tennessee guard.' ... We love Freddie's versatility on both sides of the floor. As a playmaker, he does a great job of making his teammates better, and he can score in so many different ways. He's going to be a lot of fun to coach."

JP Estrella

Measureables: 6-foot-11, 210 pounds

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Ranking: No. 39 nationally, four-star

The skinny: Estrella, like Dilione, was a fast-rising prospect in the 2023 class who jumped from outside the top-100 prospects to a top-40 recruit. The Brewster Academy big man and Maine native is a playmaking big with a lot of offensive skill with high-level shooting ability. He has played in the post for most of his high school career, but has a unique skill set after growing from 6-5 to 6-11 between his sophomore and junior seasons.

Estrella hopped on UT's radar while it recruited another prospect from Middlesex Magic, Estrella's AAU program. The Vols offered him early. He visited in February when UT played Vanderbilt, giving the Vols an early edge in his recruitment, which erupted over the summer as he received offers from Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas and Michigan among others.

What Rick Barnes said about Estrella: "JP is a guy we initially fell in love with due to his versatility. ... He's still just scratching the surface of realizing the player he will become, but his rise from being an under-the-radar prospect to one of the best big men in the country has been fun to watch. We believe JP can develop into a force for us in the SEC."

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Cade Phillips

Measureables: 6-foot-9, 200 pounds

Ranking: No. 133 nationally, three-star

The skinny: Phillips was the first player to commit to Tennessee in the 2023 class when he announced his decision in May. The Alabama legacy is from Jacksonville, Alabama, but is playing his final high school season at Link Academy, where he is teammates with fellow Vols signee Cameron Carr. Phillips' finalists were Alabama, Stanford, Georgia and Memphis.

The Vols expect the 6-9 forward will develop into a key post player during his career at Tennessee. He has made his mark at the prep level as a balanced player who can score and rebound while racking up blocked shots. He had 109 blocks in 24 games as a junior.

What Rick Barnes said about Cade Phillips: "Cade has great hands and quick feet around the rim. We also love his toughness. We believe, in time, he will grow into a player who provides tremendous upside and versatility on both ends of the floor."

Cameron Carr

Measureables: 6-foot-5, 160 pounds

Ranking: No. 159 nationally, three-star

The skinny: Carr burst onto the scene this summer with a strong Nike EYBL run with MoKan Elite, which won Peach Jam in Augusta, Georgia. The rangy guard emerged as a starter and staple of MoKan's big summer, which propelled him into the recruiting picture. Carr, who committed Tuesday, is a good shooter with a large wingspan.

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Tennessee offered Carr on Oct. 5 when Rick Barnes and assistant Rod Clark traveled to Missouri to see Carr and Phillips practice. He was ranked No. 184 in the nation by 247Sports in September and is the No. 87 player in the latest update. Carr was a 5-11 guard two years ago, but his growth to 6-5 pushed his game and recruitment. Carr is the son of Chris Carr, who played six seasons in the NBA after playing at Southern Illinois.

What Rick Barnes said about Carr: "Cam has that 'pedigree' we talk about a lot as a staff. ... It's exciting to think about his potential impact on our program. He's already an elite shot maker who's game off-the-bounce is evolving. We really like his IQ and feel for the game, and we're confident his work ethic will lead to him getting better and better."

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Here's who Tennessee basketball signed in No. 8-ranked recruiting class

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