Despite Jeremy Pruitt and his staff pulling in the top rated offensive line class of 2019, there are still immediate concerns at the position. We know the Vols will be relying on youth at the position this season, but that group could get a huge boost if junior Trey Smith gets cleared to play once again.
Smith is battling a recurring blot clot issue — one that sidelined him for the entire offseason in 2018. The issue flared up mid-season last year, sidelining him once again.
Concerns for Smith go beyond the football field, but he’s seemingly making positive strides towards hitting the field once again in the future. Smith has participated in practices this spring, doing everything but make contact. He’s been seen in pads and a helmet, going through walkthroughs and getting familiar with Jim Chaney’s offensive system.
“Trey is probably in the best shape of his life,” Jeremy Pruitt told Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone. “He’s working really hard. He does everything except contact drills. You see him, whether it was in offseason conditioning or practice, being the first in line.”
Smith burst onto the scene as a freshman, starting right off the bat in the 2017 opener against Georgia Tech. He was an instant impact player for the Vols, playing at the guard position. The former five-star recruit transitioned to left tackle in 2018, with mixed results. Now with Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright in the fold, Smith could easily kick back inside to his initial position.
“He’s taking an approach like he’s going to be able to play this fall,” Pruitt said. “That’s yet to be determined, but if he gets an opportunity, he’s going to be ready.”
That’s a fairly positive stance on Smith, who most have assumed would miss the 2019 season. Adding him back into the mix at guard would be a big help to a position group that certainly needs the boost.