Before taking the podium in the main room of SEC Media Days, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt met with the local media that covers the Vols on a day-to-day basis in Knoxville.
Here, Pruitt provided an update on four key members of the football team.
Nearly a month ago, it was reported that redshirt senior wide receiver Jauan Jennings suffered a knee injury during workouts. Jennings reportedly had surgery and was expected to be back in time for fall camp.
Pruitt was asked about Jennings’ situation, and the Vols’ second-year head coach had a positive update on the fifth-year wideout.
“Yeah, Jauan is fine,” Pruitt responded when asked about the health of Jennings at SEC Media Days on Tuesday.
Last offseason, the Tennessee native required arthroscopic knee surgery that would keep him out of spring practice in 2018. Jennings went on to catch 30 passes for 438 yards and three touchdowns.
As for junior offensive lineman Trey Smith, who is battling health issues for a second consecutive offseason, Tennessee’s doctors are in the process of preparing a plan for him to play this year.
“Trey, we’re in the process with our doctors,” Pruitt said. “Trey wants to play football, and they’re in the process of figuring out a plan so he can be able to do that.”
Throughout the summer, Smith has continued to work out with the team. During the spring, the junior dressed out and participated in all drills except for full-contact drills — which he has yet to be cleared for. Pruitt has periodically stated that Smith is in the best shape of his career.
Last season, Smith started in seven games before blood clots in his lungs were re-discovered before the Alabama game, causing him to miss the remainder of the season. The blood clots previously kept him out of the entire spring practice period in 2018.
As for Aubrey Solomon and Deangelo Gibbs, the pair of transfers are waiting for different news. The two are waiting on the decision of the NCAA as to whether they’ll be immediately eligible this season after transferring from Michigan and Georgia, respectively.
“You know, Aubrey and Deangelo, because they’re transfers, you have to get a waiver to have them ruled eligible,” Pruitt stated. “We’ve yet to get a ruling on that.”
While the situation may be a frustrating experience for fans, Pruitt doesn’t appear to be feeling that frustration. The way Pruitt conducts practice allows the Vols to continue to work without skipping a beat despite the uncertainty.
“We’ve not changed our approach. So we usually practice with three or four teams anyhow,” Pruitt added. “Everyone gets the same amount of reps. It’s not frustrating to me. It might be to them, but it isn’t to me.”
A decision could come down any day regarding Solomon and Gibbs. But for now, the countdown to Tennessee’s season opener against Georgia State in Neyland Stadium on Aug. 31 continues.