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The 10 Best Vol Football Players of the 2010s

3. Trey Smith, OL

(Photo via Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics)

Another “what if” on this list, Trey Smith might’ve been No. 1 in these rankings if not for the unfortunate medical condition that sidelined him for months and still puts him at risk every time he takes the field.

Even with that, Smith has proven to be one of the best players in recent Tennessee history.

The former five-star prospect was a Freshman All-American after starting all 12 games of his freshman campaign in 2017, but then blood clots in his lungs put a huge question mark on his career. Smith sat out spring practices in 2018 and wasn’t cleared to play until late into fall camp of 2018. Smith started at left tackle for the Vols, but he didn’t look as comfortable there as he did at guard, and it was clear he wasn’t 100 percent, too.

Then just days before the Vols made the trip to Columbia, South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks, Smith’s blood clots resurfaced, and he was benched for the rest of the season.

Smith battled back, found a course of action that would medically allow him to play again, and he’s been the Vols’ best offensive lineman this season, starting all 11 of the Vols’ 12 regular season games at left guard.

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After Tennessee’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl match-up with Indiana, Smith has a decision to make: Will he stick around at UT for one more season in 2020, or will he try his chances in the NFL? If Smith were fully healthy, there’s little doubt he’d be a first-round pick. But with his medical condition, there’s a lot more hesitancy from the NFL on when and where to draft him.

Smith is a warrior, and there hasn’t been a more talented offensive lineman to play for the Vols this decade.

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