One key element to the success of Tennessee in 2019 is the status of star offensive lineman Trey Smith, who is currently battling blood clot issues. The former five-star prospect exploded onto the scene in 2017 as a freshman, but was shut down during the spring of 2018 with blood clots. He came back for the season, but the issue returned in the middle of the year, once again forcing Tennessee to shut down Smith.
In a radio appearance with WJOX’s 3ManFront in Birmingham on Wednesday, Pruitt updated the status of the key Tennessee lineman.
“Our medical staff did a fantastic job recognizing the situation and monitoring it through the year,” Pruitt said of Smith’s situation. “Had a really good plan and at a point decided it was in his best interest to shut him down.”
Smith has been held out of contract drills this offseason, but has done everything else with the team, according to Pruitt. He’s participated in team drills, even practicing with a helmet and pads on through the spring.
“Trey has done absolutely everything this offseason,” Pruitt continued. “He’s probably in the best shape of his life. When we got here, he weighed 360 pounds. Now he weighs 321. He does absolutely everything everyone on our team does. The only thing he doesn’t do is have contact. So that goes along with the medicine he’s taking. He’s working hard along with his family and his doctors to create a plan for him to hopefully one day be able to resume playing at Tennessee.”
Tennessee’s struggled up front last year, with and without Smith in the lineup. However, the addition of two additional five-star tackles could change the trajectory of that group — especially if Smith is cleared to play. Smith spent time at left tackle last season after starting at guard as a freshman. He could easily return to a guard position with Darnell Wright and Wanya Morris now in the fold.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First and foremost, Smith has to get clearance from his doctors to return to contact. After a second flare up, doctors are likely to be extra cautious with his situation. It is encouraging to hear that he’s doing everything but contact drills, though.
We’ll likely get our next update on Smith at SEC media days on July 16th. After that, we won’t have too much longer until fall practice begins. Maybe, just maybe, Smith will be ready to roll by then.