RTI contributor Noah Taylor is the author of this article
The preseason accolades continue for a pair of Tennessee players ahead of the 2020 college football season.
On Thursday, Vol offensive linemen Trey Smith and Cade Mays were named first and second team All-Americans by Sporting News.
Smith, a 6-foot-6, 335-pound senior who started 12 games and was named First Team All-SEC in 2019, earned first team honors by Sporting News. The Jackson, TN native missed most of his sophomore season in 2018 due to blood clots. He was named to the Walter Camp Preseason All-America Second Team as well as First Team All-America by Athlon and Street and Smith preseason magazines earlier this month.
“Smith is one of the better stories in college football,” Sporting News said. “He overcame blood clotting that threatened his football career, and he’s shown the ability to be both a guard and tackle for the Vols. He can play either position at a high clip, and that should help an improving program in 2020.”
Mays, a Knoxville native and former five-star prospect from Knoxville Catholic High School, transferred to Tennessee in January from division rival Georgia after starting 18 games for the Bulldogs.
Mays was named to the second team of Sporting News’ preseason All-American list. Prior to his freshman season in Athens, Mays was named to both the FWAA Freshman All-American Team and Freshman All-SEC Team and appeared in 11 of 14 games during the Bulldogs’ 2018 Sugar Bowl run.
During his sophomore season in 2019, Mays started at least one game at every position for Georgia’s offensive line except for center.
Mays has yet to earn immediate eligibility for the 2020 season after transferring from Georgia, but it’s clear that expectations will be high for him should he take the field for the Vols this upcoming season.
Earlier this week, SEC Network analyst and former Auburn offensive lineman Cole Cubelic hailed the Vols’ offensive front as one of the best in country. With both Mays and Smith earning preseason recognition, it’s easy to see why.