Trey Smith continues our countdown of the most important Vols for the 2018 season. Check out the rest here.
Out of all of the players on our countdown, sophomore offensive lineman Trey Smith requires the least amount of explanation as to why he is one of the Vols’ most important players for the 2018 season.
It became even more clear when referencing his relevance to the team after Smith missed out on spring practice with an undisclosed illness. With limited details, fans and the media alike were left to speculate on the issue.
It was later revealed that Smith had blood clots in his lungs and had been prescribed to anticoagulants - rendering him unsuitable for any type of football contact.
But progress has been made and he is expected to be cleared for contact within the next couple of weeks.
The bright side of this situation for the Vols - other than Smith’s health and his return - is the fact that this experience has allowed Smith to appreciate football - and the Vols - even more.
“I’ve never been in this situation before, so I’m just ready to get back out there and really play football again, to hit somebody again. When I first got the verdict back in February, I understood the severity of what was going on. But it was comforting that everybody at UT just kept telling me that it wasn’t about football, but about my well-being and my life, and not when I was going to get back. They were concerned about me as a person.” - Trey Smith, via espn.com
His importance to the team cannot be understated. He was the No. 1 overall recruit in the country when he committed to Tennessee in the spring of 2017.
Smith was the first true freshman to start at left tackle for the Vols in 30 years last season. He played every position but center and was a freshman All-American.
What more do you need to know?
Not only does he bring much-needed athleticism to the offensive line, but his nasty demeanor and leadership fill the gaps on a unit that has underachieved as a whole over the years.
Smith is expected to anchor a revamped line under new offensive line coach Will Friend and offensive coordinator Tyson Helton.
He will also protect whomever ends up starting at quarterback, which is important enough in its own right.
But if there is anyone on the Vols’ roster that is up to the challenge, it’s Trey Smith. As long he’s healthy, then Tennessee is in good hands.