After an outstanding freshman campaign, Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith established himself as one of the SEC’s best players heading into the 2018 season, according to the conference’s coaches.
Thursday, the newly released Coaches Preseason All-SEC First Team featured a familiar name: Smith’s.
This accomplishment continues an offseason of accolades for Smith, as he also garnered first team votes by the media at SEC media days and enters the season on the Preseason Outland Trophy watchlist. These accolades come as no surprise based on the former ESPN top-ranked recruit’s strong play in 2017.
Smith started every game for the Vols last year and played every position on the offensive line other than center due to injuries and depth issues.
Even with the shuffling along the offensive line, Smith registered 55 knockdowns, leading the team. Pro Football Focus College rated him as the best offensive freshman in the SEC in 2017.
Adversity arose for Smith this offseason as he dealt with a health scare. He missed a long period of the preseason due to an undisclosed illness later revealed to be blood clots in his lungs.
Smith was, however, cleared for fall practice and is expected to be ready for the season opener against the 17th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers on Sept. 1. in Charlotte, North Carolina. Smith finally suited up for full contact Wednesday.
Head coach Jeremy Pruitt said he “jumped right back in there” and that coaches must limit him a bit to “build him up.”
Smith and the Tennessee Volunteers take the field next Saturday to begin a new era under Pruitt.
Image by Jake Nichols/The Tennessee Journalist
Edited by Jake Nichols and Lexie Little