Tennessee football offensive lineman Trey Smith is on the 2018 Outland Trophy preseason watch list. The sophomore continues to represent the Volunteers.
It seems like Trey Smith is the only Tennessee football player getting any attention heading into the 2018 season. And remember, he’s only a sophomore. The guy also missed all of spring due to a health issue that left his playing status for the year uncertain until last week.
Nonetheless, the one bright spot of the offense in 2017 now comes in with high expectations for 2018. Last week, he was the only All-SEC Vol, and he made first-team. This week, he’s now on a preseason watch list.
Smith was named to the 2018 Outland Trophy Watch List, which is given to the best interior lineman. The winner can be on the offensive or defensive side of the ball up front, and Smith is among 82 players on the list.
Multiple Tennessee football players have won Outland Trophies in the past. John Henderson won it in 2000, and Steve DeLong won it in 1964. Both players were defensive linemen. Smith would be the first offensive lineman from Rocky Top to win it.
The only other player to receive any outside attention has been Nigel Warrior. Not much of a surprise to people given his skills and expectations, Warrior was placed on the 2018 Bednarik Award Preseason Watch List last week.
When Warrior and Smith committed to the Vols, fans expected them to make an immediate impact. So far, they have reached expectations individually despite laboring under a horrifically bad coaching staff. Now, with Jeremy Pruitt at the helm, maybe they can further maximize their talents.
In Smith’s case, there are numerous questions about the offensive line heading into the year. So his reliability is a huge deal. And it’s part of why there are so many expectations for him. Tennessee football needs its top recruit from the 2017 class to take another step and live up to the hype this year if it’s going to have any decent type of season.