There’s little doubt that Trey Smith wouldn’t be able to find success when he committed to Tennessee back in 2017.
He instantly became the Vols’ best lineman and was thought to be a sure-fire first-round pick in the NFL Draft. His freshman year saw him earn SEC All-Freshman Team and Freshman All-America honors.
But the 6-foot-6, 325-pound guard was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs in February of 2018. He was able to return to the field and start the first seven games of the season before the blood clots resurfaced and caused him to miss the rest of the year.
It’s been a slow, steady climb for Smith, but his situation has improved throughout the offseason. Reports are optimistic about his potential return, but nothing is set in stone and will likely remain that way for the duration of his career in Knoxville.
Health aside, Smith’s return would automatically upgrade the Vols’ offensive line. The tackle positions seem to be in good shape with the trio of Wanya Morris, Darnell Wright, and Marcus Tatum leading the way, but the interior of the line - while solid - could use some more punch.
Smith can deliver that punch. He’s an absolute mauler and bulldozer who can both clear space for backs and pancake defenders trying to reach the quarterback. As long as he can return to form, his presence would also help make those around him better, which is one of the most invaluable traits a football player can have.
He’s smart, intuitive, and can also play multiple positions along the line. It’s also important to mention how tough he is, but that’s pretty obvious when you look at his fight with the blood clots.
His presence on the field would also deepen Tennessee’s offensive line. There is already a good amount of depth at the position, so it’d only make the situation better if Smith were to return to the fold.
It’s fair to raise the question of how effective can he be if/when he does return, but just having him back in the lineup would be great for the Vols both on and off the field.
But until that day comes, his health is the most important aspect of all of this. There’s no shame in sitting this year out if he has to and all of Vol Nation is behind that decision.
Get better, Trey! We got your back!