Redshirting has been a big topic for the Vols this year. Most notable was the attempt to redshirt quarterback Joshua Dobbs that fell through when Justin Worley tore his labrum against Ole Miss. There’s also been discussion of getting a medical hardship for receiver Josh Smith after he’s been slow to recover from a high ankle sprain, which now appears to be happening after he announced that he had undergone surgery.
As a quick reminder on redshirt rules, a player burns his redshirt opportunity once he plays one snaps. However, a team can apply for a medical hardship if a player (who hasn’t previously used a redshirt season) plays in less than 30% of the team’s games and has a season-ending injury that can be documented to the NCAA. Both scenarios preserve a year of eligibility. Nothing is official until the season is over, but at this point, we have a pretty good feel for who UT’s will be this year, so here are the guys who the Vols might be able to get that extra year of eligibility from:
1. WR Josh Smith
Why: Sprained his ankle at Oklahoma in Week 3 and hasn’t returned. Tweeted on Friday that he underwent surgery that “went great.”
Future outlook: It’s very bright for Smith if he can stay healthy. That’s the key. He was banged up as a freshman, but was forced to play through injury due to lack of depth at receiver. This year, he was off to a great start with 12 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown in less than three full games. He’s been plagued by a few drops, but in terms of speed, route-running and overall feel for the game, he’s one of the best WRs the Vols have on their roster and could very well be a future starter despite all the other young talent at the position.