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5 Biggest Storylines for the Vols Entering 2019 Fall Camp

Will Trey Smith be Cleared to Play?

Photo by Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

As a true freshman in 2017, Trey Smith performed at an exceptionally high level and was one of the few bright spots in Tennessee’s dismal season. He earned Freshman All-American honors as Tennessee’s starting left guard, and he looked to be the cornerstone for UT’s offensive line the next few years.

Then, health issues struck. And they struck hard.

Smith developed blood clots in his lungs shortly after the end of the 2017 season, and he was held out of spring practices during Jeremy Pruitt’s first spring as head coach. It was later made public that summer that Smith was dealing with the blood clots, and his future seemed uncertain.

Eventually, Smith received the good news that he had been cleared to play, and he was eased into contact during fall camp. He began the season as Tennessee’s starting left tackle, but he seemed rusty and slightly out of place at tackle rather than guard.

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Then the bad news struck again.

Smith’s blood clots reappeared the week of Tennessee’s match-up on the road with South Carolina, and he was benched for the rest of the season. The Jackson, TN native was again held out of spring practices this year, though he was slightly more active than last year.

Now the same question that loomed over Smith before fall camp last year is hanging over his head once again: Will he be cleared to practice and play for the upcoming season?

If Smith gets clearance from doctors to practice, then fall camp will pivotal in making sure he’s in playing shape. Assuming he’s in as good of shape as Pruitt has proclaimed this offseason, then he should nail down one of Tennessee’s starting guard spots and be a strong asset to the O-line.

But if Smith’s blood clots keep him out of fall camp and prevent him from playing, then it will likely spell an unfortunate end to Smith’s UT career.

Trey Smith’s health is of the utmost importance, and it’s above any football concerns. But he himself wants to be on the field, and Tennessee’s coaches and players know that the Vols’ offensive line needs him in order to improve like they want to.

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