Tennessee lands final official visit before five-star Trey Smith's Tuesday commitment
Tuesday could go a long way in determining the ultimate success or failure of the Butch Jones era at Tennessee. Given the decline of the football team over the last five weeks of the season, in addition to the odd midseason departure of Jalen Hurd from the program, that’s not hyperbole.
Tuesday will signal one of two things: Either a continuation of the poor late-season results or a statement that Tennessee continues to progress under Butch Jones and remains an attractive option for the nation’s elite prospects.
Why is Tuesday so important? That’s the date five-star offensive lineman and Tennessee native Trey Smith will be committing to his either Tennessee, Ole Miss, Ohio State or Alabama.
Rated as a five-star prospect by 247Sports and the No. 1 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN Recruiting, the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Smith took his final official visit to Knoxville over the weekend after already taking visits to Columbus and Tuscaloosa.
For the weekend visit, Tennessee rolled out the “Orange Carpet” if you will for the highly touted Volunteer State native. The in-state lineman was the only official visitor hosted by the program this weekend. Several players and their family did their part to sway Smith toward Rocky Top on social media, including fellow lineman Jack Jones, quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and his father James:
— Jack Jones (@jackjoneshii) December 4, 2016
— Jarrett Guarantano✞ (@Guarantano2) December 4, 2016
Vol Nation, take a peek…… pic.twitter.com/vlHHNYXbGI
— James Guarantano (@JamesGuarantano) December 4, 2016
— Jarrett Guarantano✞ (@Guarantano2) December 3, 2016
The Vols even displayed what Smith’s uniform would look like next season if he chose to enroll at Tennessee:
— Austin Price (@AustinPriceless) December 5, 2016
Following his Tuesday commitment, Smith plans to enroll early and get a jump start on the 2017 season. Both Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are expected to pay Smith and his family an in-home visit Monday night, prior to his decision. While Butch Jones will not be there, the Tennessee coach has already used up his one allotted home visit with Smith, several Volunteer assistants are scheduled to give Smith a visit.
During his Monday media availability, Jones proclaimed his Tennessee program was on the verge of signing another “top-notch” recruiting class and relayed that recruits see the positive momentum of the program.
Is Tennessee continuing to move in the right direction or will the disappointing season signal the beginning of the end for Jones’ program? We may know the answer as soon as Tuesday when Smith announced his final decision.
Smith’s commitment will be broadcast live on ESPN’s College Football Live at 4 p.m. ET.