Fields has one year of eligibility remaining after playing three years at the Division I level, one at UNC-Wilmington and two at East Carolina. He sat out a year after transferring from ECU to the Seahawks.
Fields received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Wilmington. Tennessee expects the 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward from Fayetteville, N.C., to be able to play immediately, pending an NCAA waiver.
"Joining the Vols is an incredible opportunity that I'm blessed for," said Fields, who began graduate studies at Tennessee on Monday. "I'm ready to help the team in whatever capacity I can and advance far in the NCAA tournament. The relationship I've been able to develop already with Coach Pearl and the rest of the coaches has been amazing. I felt right at home and felt like I fit in perfectly."
As a junior, Fields averaged a team-best 8.7 rebounds per game and scored 10.2 points per contest. He set a single-game school record for rebounds with 21 against Towson and a season record for blocks with 59.
He spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at East Carolina, where he earned Conference USA all-freshman honors.
He will join incoming freshman and McDonald's All-American forward Tobias Harris in helping to replace departed forwards Tyler Smith and Emmanuel Negedu. The Vols also have forwards Kenny Hall, Steven Pearl and Renaldo Woolridge and Marquette transfer Jeronne Maymon should be eligible to play following the fall 2010 semester.
"The fact that [Fields] already has his degree and is going to be working on his master's speaks to his character and his priorities," Pearl said. "He's a terrific athlete for a man his size who blocks shots and rebounds and can score around the basket. The next step for John will be to develop his abilities on the perimeter on both offense and defense."