Pruitt Says Trey Smith is “Feeling Great” and “Ready to Work”

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    Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

    It’s May, which means it’s Big Orange Caravan time in Tennessee. Right now, Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer, head football coach Jeremy Pruitt, head basketball coach Rick Barnes, and Lady Vols basketball head coach Holly Warlick are all traveling together to cities around the state of Tennessee to speak to fans across the state.

    The Caravan’s first stop was in Chattanooga, and Pruitt spoke about a myriad of topics when it came time for him to talk to the crowd. One of the things that got brought up was the health and status of star offensive tackle Trey Smith. And Pruitt had some positive updates to give on the heralded rising sophomore.

    “I tell you what, Trey’s working really hard right now,” Pruitt said at the Caravan stop according to 247Sports. “Right now, the NCAA has discretionary weeks, so you have to have seven discretionary weeks throughout the year, which means you can’t have mandatory workouts. We can’t make it mandatory for our players, and everybody does that during the month of May.

    “But they do have to have somebody in the weight room for supervision, and somebody told me that Trey’s been in there every day. He’s feeling great and he’s ready to go to work.”

    Smith missed all of spring with an undisclosed health issue, and his future in football remained murky even after spring practices ended. But Pruitt seems to feel optimistic about the star offensive lineman returning this fall once camp begins.

    There was a moment on social media last week when Smith seemed to give the best update possible for himself, the Vols, and Vol fans. He tweeted out “Clear Now,” but it was almost immediately deleted soon after he put it out. There has been no confirmation from either him or UT about that tweet and if he’s actually been cleared. But him still putting in work in Tennessee’s new weight room seems to be a positive sign regardless.

    As a true freshman last season, Smith was the only offensive lineman who started all 12 games. He played primarily at guard, but he started three games at left tackle out of necessity after injuries decimated the Vols’ offensive line. Smith performed well at both spots and was an All-SEC selection and Freshman All-American by several outlets.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.