The accolades for Trey Smith’s 2017 performance as a Tennessee Vol aren’t quite over yet. The sophomore, who is moving at a cautious-but-positive pace toward action in 2018, was named by Athlon Sports to their first-team All-SEC team for the 2018 pre-season. Not bad for a player that, at a point, seemed like he might have to retire for medical reasons that arose in the offseason.
Smith was the only Vol named to the first team, and Tennessee’s one selection to the first team was behind all schools except Auburn and Vanderbilt, who had zero.
All in all, Tennessee had five players selected to Athlon’s All-SEC teams. The Vols had no players on the second-team selections, but they did on the third and fourth teams.
The third team included rising junior safety Nigel Warrior. Athlon feels like 2018 is his time to shine, and I agree. Under the guidance of such an experienced secondary coach as Jeremy Pruitt, it’s a smart guess that Warrior could look more like a second or first teamer by the end of the year.
Tennessee’s offense was well represented on the fourth team with three selections. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who played only a handful of plays in 2017, found his way to the fourth team, proving that his brand is still high after his objectively magical 2016 campaign. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of mental and physical football-shape he’s in after a season off. Players who run on intensity like Jennings tend to bounce back from things well, just on pure refusal to be contained.
Also on the fourth team was wide receiver Marquez Callaway. During spring ball, this rising junior continued to look like a player with an NFL future. Callaway has been consistently reliable at his position, and he has also shown flashes as a return specialist, which was the position he was selected to for Athlon’s All-SEC team.
Rounding out Tennessee’s Athlon selections is sophomore running back Ty Chandler. The rising sophomore made the fourth team as well. He is durable, quick, and smart, and those things make him an asset to any offense.
Alabama and Georgia led all SEC teams with six first-team selections. Georgia led the conference with 13 total selections across all four teams.