Tennessee begins fall camp later this week on August 3rd. And when they open up camp, they’ll have arguably their best player back and ready to go.
Sophomore offensive lineman Trey Smith missed all of spring practices with an undisclosed health concern, and the future of his career at Tennessee appeared to be in jeopardy. But according to a report from Chris Low of ESPN, Smith has officially been cleared and will be ready for practices this fall.
Low spoke with Smith about his journey from medical uncertainty to now, and Smith revealed to Low that he was suffering from blood clots in his lungs and that that was what caused him to miss all of spring practices earlier this year.
But now Smith is officially cleared, and he’s ready to get back out on the field.
“I’ve never been in this situation before, so I’m just ready to get back out there and really play football again, to hit somebody again,” Smith told Low. “When I first got the verdict back in February, I understood the severity of what was going on. But it was comforting that everybody at UT just kept telling me that it wasn’t about football, but about my well-being and my life, and not when I was going to get back. They were concerned about me as a person.
“I just had to take my time with it and let God do his work.”
Low also spoke with Tennessee team physician Dr. Chris Klenck. According to Klenck, the latest scans didn’t reveal any clots, but Smith will be held out of any contact in fall camp until he finishes medication he’s been prescribed.
“He’s been cleared to do conditioning and drills as long as it’s noncontact, and probably about mid-August and sometime before the first game, he will be off the anticoagulants and able to resume contact,” Klenck told Low. “There’s always a risk of a new blood clot forming. There is no scenario where the risk is zero percent. There’s still a chance. You just have to be vigilant of signs and symptoms of blood clots.
“His risk of recurring blood clots would still be there, though, even if he said, ‘Hey, I’m not playing football anymore.’ He still has a risk, but there are also risks if you choose to stay on anticoagulants the rest of your life. Ultimately it was Trey’s decision.”
Smith’s mother, Dorsetta, passed away at age 51 due to congestive heart failure. Trey wanted to be extra cautious about any medical condition he was diagnosed with, but his father, Henry, told Low that “If (Trey) couldn’t do it in a safe way, he wouldn’t be going back onto that field.”
“But after the treatment he’s gone through and the recuperation his body has gone through, he’s in good condition,” Henry added. “The clots are gone and there are no signs of them.”
Smith was voted as a Freshman All-American and All-SEC performer by several outlets after the 2017 season, and he’s already been named to the Outland Trophy watch list and was voted a First Team All-SEC lineman at SEC Media Days this offseason.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound lineman is a projected starter for the Vols this upcoming season and was a five-star offensive tackle coming out of The University School in Jackson, Tennessee.
You can read Low’s full interview with Smith and others here.