The Tennessee Football team just got a huge piece back for the 2020 season. Trey Smith has decided to return for his senior season on Rocky Top.
After an grueling week of decision making with family, staff, NFL executives & more, Smith announced his intentions. This one sent shockwaves through the fanbase & for potential defenders going up against Smith next season.
There is no downplaying this move, the Tennessee OL has the opportunity to be the one of the best in the conference next season. Smith will anchor an offensive line that will return Brandon Kennedy, Darnell Wright, Wanya Morris & Calbert. With the reported addition of Cade Mays, if he becomes eligible for next season, things are looking up for this team.
Jeremy Pruitt was asked for his reaction to the news
Tennessee team doctor Chris Klenck spoke to the media to give us insight on his medical plan & the many reasons they were playing it safe with Trey over the last few years. Klench, also went into the procedures that were done in order to prevent further complications.
Business has once again picked up for the Tennessee Football team, and it’s only January.
Here is the full transcript from Trey Smith
“First and foremost, I want to give all the honor, praise and glory to God for allowing me to be here in this situation. I want to thank you all for coming out today. I have a long list of thanks before I begin.
“I want to thank my family and friends for being by my side. I want to thank coach Mickey Marley, coach (Nick) Stamper, coach (Jim) Hardegree, coach (Bryce) King, the Bradley’s and Artis Hicks for helping me in high school and seeing potential in my abilities. I want to thank coach (Jeremy) Pruitt, coach (Phillip) Fulmer, coach (Will) Friend, coach (Craig) Fitzgerald, coach Mike Farrell, coach Cameron Clemmons and the entire coaching staff for their wisdom, guidance and support. I want to give a special thanks to Dr. (Chris) Klenck, Jeronimo Boche, Jason McVeigh and the entire medical staff at the University of Tennessee. I want to thank all of my teammates from past and present, who I’ve grinded with (and) struggled with while playing football. I want to thank all of Vol Nation for the continual love and support for not only myself but also my entire team throughout the years.
“My story begins in West Tennessee in a city named Jackson. Ever since I was a child, I’ve dreamt of playing SEC football. I used to pray and ask God he would make me 6-5 so I would be big enough to play the game I love. Fast forward my sophomore year in football, and now I was 6-5 and big enough to play the game that I love. Shortly after I began receiving offers to play division one football, I received numerous scholarships to major SEC universities. Life was great. Everything was great. However, the stark reality of life struck at an early age. My mother, Dorsetta Smith, fell sick and died soon after, which completely crushed my world. From that point since, I’ve been on a mission to fulfill my promise to her. I had to decide what institution was for me. Ultimately, I had to choose home. I fell in love with this university. From watching Jauan (Jennings) score the game winner at UGA, to breaking the streak in Neyland against Florida, when it was time to sign my papers and make a decision, I knew my home was in the state of Tennessee at the University of Tennessee.
“Tennessee is where I was raised, where I belong. I arrived on campus a wide-eyed freshman, nervous, anxious, about the task I faced. I played well my first year. However, adversity struck. I was diagnosed with blood clots in 2017 near the end of the season. I fought back again and had another setback in 2018. I persevered and came back this season and fought for everything I could. Now, as we sit here today, I’m faced with a life-changing decision. You see, when my mom was sick, I promised her I would receive my degree and diploma and I would play in the NFL one day. I want to be 100 percent sure of my decision. With that being said, I will honor my mother, Dorsetta Smith. I’ve made up my mind and don’t expect to ever look back. I’m going to stay at the University of Tennessee.”
On how difficult of a decision it was to return for his senior season:
“I think I left some money on the field, some would say. There are many things I can increase and get better at, be a lot more consistent on my game. I want to attack those areas and be better.”
On how much he relied on his family when making his decision:
“We’re a spiritual family. We took a lot of time to pray and think about it. We did our proper research to make sure it was the right decision. We came together and made a decision.”
On if playing in his senior season will give NFL teams more to look at:
“Yes, absolutely. I think it will.”
On when he knew this was the right move for him:
“Just thinking about it. We sent my film off and got it evaluated by the college advising board. They recommended that I came back. After thoughtful prayer and consideration, I decided it was the best option.”
On if he had a certain number, in terms of NFL draft projection, that he needed to hear from the NFL that would have convinced him to enter the draft:
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a number. You just want your stock to be as high as it can be. I just feel like, as a player, I have a lot more things that I need to fix in order to get at a higher level, play the game the way I know I can play.”
On if there is a plan for him to get back on the practice field, ahead of next season:
“We have a great plan here at the University of Tennessee. We have a great medical staff. Talking with Doctor Klenck, we have a great plan. Anything he feels comfortable with, we’re going to stick to it.”
On if he spoke with teammates before his announcement:
“I didn’t really tell anybody the truth. I just left them in the grey a little bit.”
On where he believes he can improve his game during his senior season :“Where do I start? Balance, body control, over-extension, being too aggressive at times, which I think is just a timing thing. I’ve just got to play the game under control. Sometimes I get really over aggressive and just want to kill everybody when I’m out there. It’s playing with controlled violence.”
On how close he is to graduating:
“I should be able to graduate in May.”
On if he spoke to Peyton Manning or anyone else that went through a similar situation, while making this decision:
“I just think it’s sort of a different situation. It’s my decision at the end of the day. It’s going to be my life, so I felt like I could rely on the information I was getting. I was confident in it and I’m confident in my abilities. I had a good plan, a proper plan to come back better.”
On when he made the final decision, and if he thought about it during the bowl game process:
“I was thinking about it the whole time, honestly. Just making decisions, when people know what they’re talking about, together, we made a better decision and a conclusion, essentially.”
On if the team’s success down the stretch of this season impacted his decision to return for his final season with the Vols:
“I wouldn’t say it impacted me, but I definitely want to be a part of it. We’re building something special here at Tennessee. I believe in this coaching staff. I believe in the players we have coming. We’re building something special. We have unfinished business this next season.”
On if he is at peace now that the decision is out of the way:
“Yes. I am definitely relieved. I can go back to hiding now. I can chill out and get my body better to get ready for the season.”
On if it was tough to go through this process:
“I just tried to put my mind off it for a little bit. I just played some NCAA games at Riley Locklear’s house and chilled out pretty much.”
On him quoting Peyton Manning and when he decided to do that:
“When I made my decision on coming back, I wanted to pay homage to the GOAT. That is how we do it here. He is one of the best to ever play obviously. I just wanted to bring that little piece of legacy and bring that back to Tennessee.”
On why coming back to school was the biggest promise he made to his mom:
“In the end, I didn’t get my degree yet. If I did make the decision to go to the NFL, I thought when I was done playing, I would come back the day after to come get my degree. It is just one of the things she emphasized while growing up. I have to get an education. It is something nobody can ever take away from me. That is something that has always stuck with me. It is one of my goals in life – to get an education, get my degree and play in the NFL.”
On what his degree will be in:
On what he thinks his mom would say to him today:
“She would be proud. She would be really proud. She would be nervous with all the medical stuff, but she would be very proud.”
On if he feels like he answered some questions that the NFL would’ve had:
“Yes. There are still some questions. Obviously, you want to leave when your stock is highest. There are a lot of concerns, so in my mind it wasn’t a good decision (to leave for the NFL). I am going to stay this year to improve myself and worth and prove that my health is good. That is ultimately why I decided for my family.”
On what the plan will be this year to improve his stock now that he knows how to manage his health:
“To get my body at the best level and best it has ever been. Make sure I am losing weight and eating correctly and getting stronger in every facet that I can. I think the main piece that we are missing is the mental process and just staying in the film room and meeting with coach Jim Chaney. This will be the first year I will be in the system on offense for two years in a row. That is a big benefit and plus. We will see where that leads. At the beginning of the season, I was still trying to figure out what to do on plays and relying on Brandon Kennedy as a crutch a lot of times. This year I am coming in and I can make the clearance as well. It is just a development thing. Just like coach Pruitt mentioned. It is just a developmental position and it is a mental process. It just has to be that much higher.”
On if he was able to find out if the medical plan here at UT would’ve been the same in the NFL:
“Essentially it would be the same plan. Whatever team decides (to draft me), if that opportunity presents itself, that (plan) is what I would go through with. Once again, this year is going to prove myself. Just speaking of that, it is one of those things that we will cross the bridge when we get there.”
On if he told any of his teammates about his decision:
“I really don’t think so.”
On if he told his teammates that he wouldn’t tell anybody his decision:
“Yeah. Pretty much everybody didn’t know. The people that knew were the immediate people that helped me. I wanted to give a special thanks to them, because without them this would be very hard.”
On how much this decision weighed on him throughout the season:
“Not at all. My high school coach, Mickey Marley, was a wise man. He is a great figure in my life. When I was getting recruited in high school, he used to tell me to not worry about all that stuff because I still had to play on Friday night. So why would I worry about the NFL on Sundays when I am still playing on Saturdays? That is the sort of mentality I always got from him. Worry about what is in front of you, a fool is going to only worry about the future and not what is in front of you in the present.”
On when he was able to finally come to a decision:
“About three or four days ago is when I officially decided, I guess. I wanted to come back here and be great. I want to leave a legacy at Tennessee. I love this university and I love the people. But coming back it was ultimately a business decision. You have to take that into account. It is business at that level.”