Yes, Trey Smith being on here is conditional. We don’t know yet if he’ll be good to go. Blood clots have kept Smith out of the lineup since November of last year. However, he’s been practicing with the first team. Despite confirmation, it almost looks certain at this point he will get the green light, even if it’s not in the opener.
As a result, Smith belongs on this list. There’s no question about his greatness as an offensive lineman. He was a freshman All-American playing guard in the spread in 2017, then he moved to left tackle in 2018 and became Tennessee football’s only reliable blocker. Simply put, he’s elite wherever you place him.
That makes Smith a crucial player for the Vols this year on the line. Assuming he can go, he’s the one guy we are certain can play at an elite level on the line despite so many others having hype. Jeremy Pruitt moving him around to be able to play multiple spots was a stroke of genius.
Meanwhile, working with Jim Chaney in the offseason, even if he was limited, probably helped even more. Chaney specializes in the line, so he and Will Friend together are perfect for an elite talent like Smith. He just needs the green light to go.