The 2018 SEC Media Days brought good news to the Tennessee football program. Freshman All-American, Trey Smith, will be back for the fall.
There is entirely no hesitation when I say Trey Smith is the best Tennessee football player on the team. Smith, sidelined for undisclosed medical reasons, but there is good news on the horizon. First-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt said Smith would be back in the fall.
The five-star product from Jackson, TN was the highest rated recruit in the state from the 2017 class. According to 247Sports, Smith was the 14th best player in the nation. ESPN ranked him even higher as the number one overall recruit. Those are tough rankings to live up to, but as a freshman, he was just as good if not better.
Three games into the season, he was hands down the best player on the team. Even Pro Football Focus took notice, listing him as the fourth highest graded freshman in the country through the first three weeks of the season.
Smith was a bright spot in such a dark season for the Tennessee program. As we all know it was the worst season in program history. He was the only lineman to start all 12 games and became the first true freshman in over three decades to start at left tackles for the Vols.
Put simply, Smith is good. Like really good. More than good enough to help the Vols win a swing game the upcoming season. Usually, it is the “playmaking” positions that move the needle when it comes to wins and losses. But, in Tennessee’s case, it’s Trey Smith.
There is a lot of uncertainty for the 2018 season. Taking a look at the schedule, there are a few games that are “for sure wins.” There are a few that are “for sure losses.” And, a handful of “toss-up” games.
With Smith on the field, the Vols easily two wins better. If the consensus prediction of total wins for the season is five or six games, adding Smith could launch the Vols to possibly seven or even eight. Seven or eight wins would mark an acceptable season in most eyes.
We saw his impact on games in many ways last season. The coaching staff would place him on the side of the line they were going to run the football and Smith was still able to hold his blocks and dominate anyone on the defensive line.
Getting back the 6-foot-6, 320-pounder SEC All-Freshman is the best news for a program in desperate need of offensive lineman. Not to mention one of the best in the nation.