It’s been a long few days for former Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith, as he waited to hear his name called during the 2021 NFL Draft. As Thursday and Friday passed, many wondered when the former two-time All-SEC player would be selected, if at all. The NFL Draft had gotten all the way to the 6th round on Saturday before Smith’s future started to become reality.
As the 225th pick came and went, it was the Kansas City Chiefs who were on the clock and looking for an offensive lineman. Though many teams did, the Chiefs weren’t passing up the opportunity that was sitting in front of them on their draft board. So, with the 226th pick in the Draft, Trey Smith finally got the phone call he’d been waiting for, his time had come and his professional career was beginning.
As Smith discussed during a zoom press conference afterwards, this was a dream come true.
“Joining this organization is ultimately a dream come true. I watched the Super Bowl when ya’ll played the 49ers. I sat in those stands and watched. I was amazed by the offense, amazed by the organization, watching them, their run. Having an opportunity to join them is humbling. I’m extremely blessed to have that opportunity. I am excited to get to work, really, with Patrick Mahomes.”
The days and hours leading up to the announcement were filled with NFL draft analysts making their case as to why Smith hadn’t been drafted yet. His time at Tennessee was a bit chaotic during the early years, as he battled health issues after being diagnosed with blood clots in the spring of 2018. Trey fought through the health problems, with help from the medical staff at Tennessee and doctors around the country. After he was cleared to return to play before the 2018 season opener, he was sidelined once again in October and forced to sit-out the remaining five games. Doctors later told Trey that it was scar tissue from his previous blood clots and not new ones.
He came back stronger in the 2019 season, thanks to his trainers and medical staff. He was voted to the All-SEC first team by the associated press and coaches. As he prepared to make a decision about returning to play for the Vols in 2020, he said he promised his mother he would graduate from Tennessee and he wasn’t going to break it. Smith went on to have a productive 2020, as much as one could with the way the offense was handled.
When asked about his current health status on Saturday night, Smith made it very clear that he was healthy.
“I’ve been in absolute perfect health. Having a great time, no issues recently at all. Obviously, things are uncontrollable, but once again, thankful to the Hunt family and the Chiefs organization for believing in me. I’m ready to roll.”
The Chiefs area scout Pat Sperduto had nothing but praise for the Tennessee native, who he spent a lot of time evaluating.
“He is a guy that when we get him, every single day he’s going to hit the field and try to get better. He’s going to do whatever he has to do like even when he was going through the medical stuff, he was still going through some of the practices whether he could participate or not. He would be out there in gear going through stuff that allowed him to be prepared for games on Saturday. That says a lot. I mean it’s so easy to get disenchanted in today’s society. So many kids, they get down and get depressed, but not this kid. This kid just kept working and it shows you the dedication because he did it in the classroom as well. I mean he’s a really smart kid, he’s self-aware, he’s mature. Like I said you know Adam asked if I thought he could compete for a job. He’s going to compete, this kid’s going to find a way to play and find a way to get on the field and participate and be a part of the success story. So, like I said, I love the kid. Personally, I think this kid is going to make our football team a better football team.”
As far as the Kansas City organization goes, Director of Pro Personnel Tim Terry was excited about the quality young man they were getting and the way he impacts his opponents.
“Well looking at all those position players on a macro level, I mean there was a lot of good football players that were selected. I think the young man we have in Trey is a physical kid, he’s imposing, he takes up space and he impacts his will on his opponents. We’re just ecstatic to have him on our team to compete and go in that mix with the other offensive lineman that we acquired, and I think it’s going to help our football team. Not only on the field but as you’ve heard he’s a quality, quality young man off the field as well. So anytime you have those two things going for you, you can’t have nothing but success, so we are really excited about it.”
This is the beginning of something special for Trey Smith, as he’s already laid the foundation of what type of man he will be and the impact he’ll have in Kansas City. He’s the type of guy that doesn’t require much motivation from others, as he’s already navigated through so many obstacles and succeeded at so much at an early age. He motivates himself, so when he was asked if the last few days will be a spring board into proving the naysayers wrong, Smith responded in a way that should surprise no one.
“Just certain things happen for reasons. God always has a plan and intention for my life. And in terms of motivation, I’m always going to be motivated. I’m very thankful for the Hunt family, thankful for everyone in the Chiefs organization for believing in me and taking a chance on me.”
Get ready Kansas City, Trey Smith is ready to work.