Jeremy Pruitt praises Trey Smith's work ethic, discusses status for 2019
One of the big questions surrounding the 2019 Tennessee football team is the status of LT Trey Smith. The former 247Sports Composite 5-star recruit from the class of 2017 was a Freshman All-American, but sidelined as a sophomore when doctors discovered blood clots in his lungs. He was originally cleared in August 2018 and played in seven games until doctors found that the clots had returned midway into the season.
Volunteers reporters noted that Smith was a non-contact participant in UT’s Friday practice, the first of fall camp. After practice, Pruitt met with the media. He was asked about Smith and his status for 2019. Before saying that it’s a “one day at a time” deal as far as Smith’s level of participation, Pruitt shared his high praise for the Jackson, Tennessee left tackle.
“I think everybody is really just excited for Trey,” Pruitt said. “First of all, Trey is a great person, comes from a great family. When you talk about representing the University of Tennessee the right way, it’s Trey Smith. I think we all realize that one of these days, football’s going to be taken away from us, and for Trey, last year it happened a little sooner than he expected.
“Our training staff, our doctors, they’ve worked extremely hard to get the correct information to give Trey an opportunity, and Trey has worked probably as hard as anybody in our football program this offseason, so if he had an opportunity — he didn’t know if was going to have an opportunity — but if he was going to have an opportunity, he was going to be ready.
“We still have a ways to go with that, and Trey knows that, so we’re just kind of taking it one day at a time.”
Rivals beat reporter Jesse Simonton notes that it’s a serious decision for all parties involved, as Smith would likely have to go off of blood thinners in order to play football.
I know there’s optimism around Trey Smith’s potential return, but Jeremy Pruitt gave a dose of reality on the situation tonight.
This is not a decision that will be made lightly. Is Trey willing to risk it all by going off blood thinners and playing a contact sport? pic.twitter.com/O0ApIwZEPK
— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) August 2, 2019