Jarnell Stokes commits to Tennessee

Updated: December 22, 2011, 8:23 PM ET
By Mike LaPlante | ESPN Recruiting Nation

Jarnell Stokes has made a lot of people in the state of Tennessee very happy after picking the Volunteers over Kentucky, Memphis, Arkansas and Florida.

"I have spent a lot of time in prayer about what to do and I believe that the University of Tennessee is the right place for me," Stokes said. "I am excited about the future at Tennessee. I am going to work as hard as I can to fit in with my teammates and learn the system as quickly as I can to help the team."

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound power forward, ranked No. 18 in ESPNU's 2012 top 100 rankings, took an interesting path to Tennessee.

After being ruled ineligible for his senior season when he transferred from Memphis Central High School to Southwind High School, Stokes decided to take the necessary courses to graduate early and enroll in college for the start of the second semester. That decision helped to escalate his unique recruiting process to a feverish pitch as teams jockeyed for position for his services.

Tennessee, who had recruited Stokes hard for the 2012 class, ended up the winner in the last-minute sweepstakes.

First-year coach Cuonzo Martin inherited a difficult situation when he took over the Volunteers' basketball program, but the news of Stokes' decision to attend Tennessee is a vital development that should help Martin right the ship faster than most expected.

"We walk by faith not sight," Stokes said. "I am fortunate that that I have great people surrounding me. All the adversity that I have been through has made me a better person."

Mike LaPlante covers recruiting for ESPN Recruiting Nation.