Trey Smith has potential to be the one of the best signees that Butch Jones had landed since his time as head coach at the University of Tennessee. The 6-foot-6-inch offensive tackle was ESPN’s No. 1 prospect in the class of 2017, and Smith is expected to make a big impact on the offensive line as his career develops.
Smith has garnered national attention due to his lightning quick feet and increasing football IQ. Smith possesses many of the offensive line skills that coaches look for during the recruiting process. His size and athleticism are two other advantages that fall in Smith’s favor.
Trey Smith is one of the highest-rated recruits since the 2012 recruiting class when Cordarrelle Patterson signed with the Vols. Some believe that Smith’s immediate impact could compare to the impact that Patterson had in his lone season on Rocky Top.
Cordarrelle Patterson was the number one junior college recruit in the country when he committed to Tennessee for the 2012 football season. Patterson made an immediate impact on an already stellar wide receiving core; he averaged almost 17 yards a catch en route to 778 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions.
Further than that, Patterson averaged over 25 yards a return on both kickoffs and punt returns, scoring on one of each at some point in the year. Although he only stayed for one season and declared for the 2013 NFL draft, Patterson was arguably the best receiver on the team.
Since then, he’s put together a successful career playing wide receiver and returning kicks for the Minnesota Vikings. His explosive play and willingness to step up as a main target are just two reasons that his single season in Knoxville was such a success.
Offensive tackle and wide receiver aren’t particularly easy positions to compare. However, each player’s respective athleticism, impact potential and ability to fill key roles are comparable
Many are anticipating Smith’s emergence into a key role on the offensive line, where he could step into a starting role at the all-important left tackle position. Left tackle could be the most important position on the offensive line this season because of the quarterback change. As left tackle, Smith’s key job is to protect the new quarterback’s blind spot — no easy feat for a freshman in the SEC.
Smith also has the power to create more opportunities on the ground for the Vols with his impressive downfield blocking skills. Smith’s abilities to keep Tennessee’s new starting quarterback safe and key the run game could be a deciding factor for the Vols’ 2017 offensive success.
Edited by Nathan Odom
Featured image by Ben Proffitt