5. Trey Smith plays all year with blood clots.
This one was an issue starting the season. News of blood clots in Trey Smith’s lungs were made public back in January of 2018, right after Jeremy Pruitt arrived, and he had to spend the whole offseason trying to get back into shape to play. Once he did, Pruitt then moved him to left tackle, where he played for seven games in 2018 after playing guard all of 2017.
Well, Smith’s blood clots returned in November of last year, and it took all the way up until the week before the Georgia State Panthers game before we knew if he would play this year. Pruitt said Smith and the medical staff worked out a plan for him to play, and he was basically week to week the entire season.
After two games, he was moved back to guard playing with the blood clots. In the process, Smith returned to his old self. He helped develop Tennessee football’s offensive line and once again became one of the best blockers in the nation. By the end of the year, he was once again First Team All-SEC, an honor he earned his freshman season.
Simply put, everything was up and down for Smith, but he sparked a dramatic improvement on the line, helped by Brandon Kennedy’s return, while playing the entire year with blood clots. It was a great story and one that we simply had to tout given the way it stood out all year. Smith deserves all the praise possible, and now, coming back for his senior season, makes him even more beloved.