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    Trey Smith has been one of the most talked about and highly-anticipated freshmen the Vols have had in quite some time. But it’s not just fans and local media who are infatuated with the former five-star prospect: The national media loves Trey Smith as well.

    Barton Simmons, a national writer for CBS Sports and the director of scouting for 247Sports, compiled a list of every potential breakout freshman for all 14 SEC schools and ranked them all 1 through 14. And Tennessee’s Trey Smith topped the list.

    “Smith has been a standout on the Tennessee offensive line since the day he stepped on campus,” Simmons wrote of Smith. “While the Volunteers have found some stability and experience on the offensive front, Smith has done enough not just to unseat an experienced starter, but to make that offensive line better in his first year. Smith was a five-star and the No. 4 offensive tackle in the country per the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he’s already living up to that billing.”

    According to head coach Butch Jones, Trey Smith has already solidified himself at the right guard position this fall. And barring some sort of setback or unforeseen movement at another position, Smith will be the only true freshman starting for the Vols on offense when they open up the 2017 season.

    Vol fans have been excited about Trey Smith ever since he committed to Tennessee. Smith was an early enrollee earlier this season, and he used that time in the spring to get acquainted with the Vols’ offensive line schemes and to build upon his already impressive frame in the weight room.

    Trey Smith comes in to his freshman season with an insane amount of hype. But he already appears to be living up to it, and local fans and media aren’t the only ones taking notice.

      Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

      In a crowded secondary filled with competition for playing time, Justin Martin as emerged as a leader. The outspoken senior has drawn praise from coaches and players, and he says he approaches practice with a simple approach.

      “Control what you can control,” Martin said on Monday after the Vols’ fall camp practice inside Neyland Stadium.  “I like to control how hard I go everyday and my effort, and that’s all I can do.”

      The competition for spots in the Vols’ secondary hasn’t hurt Martin. In his opinion, it’s helped everybody.

      “The best thing that proves that is that you can be starting one day and if you have a bad practice and someone else has a good practice, then they’ll be starting,” Martin stated. “I love the talent level. We’ve got freshmen stepping up. From Cheyenne (Labruzza) and Shawn (Shamburger), they’ve all be playing good football.”

      Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Johnson has seen that competition from the other side of the ball. He had high praise for Martin on Monday, talking about the senior’s transformation from last fall. Johnson said that Martin is a totally different player now than he was last season.

      “I wouldn’t say his approach really changed,” Johnson said. “He has fun out there. His knowledge of the game has upped his game. He did add on to his frame. His knowledge, disguising coverages, knowing what’s coming and route combinations.

      “I feel like he’s really doing a great job.”

      When Jones spoke to the media after practice, he emphasized the ongoing competition in the Vols secondary. In his eyes, Tennessee isn’t starting two corners or two safeties. They need everyone to step up and be ready to play. Jones underlined just how crowded that secondary is on Monday morning.

      “In the secondary there’s a lot of great position battles,” Jones said. “The term ‘starters’ has gone out ten years ago. You need a number of starters. We need three or four starting corners. It’s not about taking the first snap, it’s about repetitions.”

      Martin only started two games in his junior season after starting six games as a freshman in 2015. Last season, Martin only recorded 19 tackles, and most of that production came early in the season. Martin was suspended for a violation of team rules during the season and played sparingly after the South Carolina game.

      He’s ready to bounce back in 2017 by focusing on the details of his game.

      “I just control what I can control. I don’t let one particular play stay over me for the rest of practice of the rest of a game,” Martin said.

      Tennessee will need him to control opposing receivers this season. With Shaq Wiggins temporarily sidelined due to a hip injury, Martin is even more critical to the Vols’ defense. Although Jones doesn’t like the term “starters,” Martin’s experience makes him one of the Vols’ most important players on the first unit on defense.

        Photo Credit: USA Today Network

        Larry Scott and Kevin Beard have poached another athlete from the state of Florida.

        This time its Shocky Jacques-louis, a three-star athlete from Fort Meyers. He’s the No. 710 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

        The Vols edged out Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Pitt for Jacques-Louis. He was originally committed to Kentucky before opening his recruitment on June 11th.

        As a junior in high school last season, Jacques-louis caught 20 passes for 314 yards and five touchdowns. He also returned both a punt and kick for a touchdown in the season.

        Jacques-louis is the third projected wide receiver commit of the Vols’ 2018 class. He’s also the fourth player from Florida to commit to Tennessee. UT remains in the top spot of the SEC recruiting rankings, holding strong at No. 6 nationally according to 247sports.

        Jacques-louis was one of the Vols’ top wide receiving targets in the 2018 class. Even taking into account normal roster attrition, he’ll join a crowded group of talented young wideouts in Knoxville next season.

        Take a look at his highlight film:

          Photo Credit: Will Boling/RTI

          Head coach Butch Jones and a few Vol players spoke to the media after the Vols’ practice in Neyland Stadium on Monday morning. We have the full interviews here for you to listen to.

          Butch Jones gave updates on some injured Vols, talked about what he saw from the practice, and more.

          Cornerback Justin Martin spoke about his improvement as a player, the competition at cornerback, and more.

          Wide receiver Brandon Johnson talked about the depth at wide receiver, the growth of the offense, and other details.

            Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

            For the third consecutive year, the Tennessee Volunteers will begin the season as a top 25 team.

            The preseason AP Poll was released on Monday, and the Vols snuck just inside the top 25, coming in at the No. 25 spot. Tennessee came in at No. 9 in the preseason AP Poll last season and were ranked No. 25 in the preseason poll to start the 2015 season.

            This marks the first time since 1990-2008 that the Vols have been ranked to start a season for three or more consecutive years in the AP Poll.

            Tennessee is the fifth-highest ranked SEC team in the preseason AP Poll. Alabama comes in at No. 1 with easily the most first place votes (52). The other SEC teams in the top 25 are Auburn (12), Georgia (15), and Florida (17). Kentucky and Texas A&M were the only other SEC schools to receive votes, getting three votes apiece.

            Here’s a complete list of the AP Poll’s preseason top 25 (first place votes are in parenthesis):

            1. Alabama (52)
            2. Ohio State (3)
            3. Florida State (4)
            4. USC (2)
            5. Clemson
            6. Penn State
            7. Oklahoma
            8. Washington
            9. Wisconsin
            10. Oklahoma State
            11. Michigan
            12. Auburn
            13. LSU
            14. Stanford
            15. Georgia
            16. Louisville
            17. Florida
            18. Miami
            19. South Florida
            20. Kansas State
            21. Virginia Tech
            22. West Virginia
            23. Texas
            24. Washington State
            25. Tennessee

              Photo Credit: Will Boling/RTI

              The Vols practiced in Neyland Stadium for another session of their fall camp. Take a look at our practice video highlights capture by RTI contributor Will Boling.