Tennessee’s program, and specifically the offensive line, got a massive boost on Thursday as junior offensive lineman Trey Smith has turned down an opportunity to leave school early for the NFL in order to return for one more season on Rocky Top.

Smith made the announcement following a lengthy statement thanking several people that helped him along his journey to this point in his life and career. According to Smith, his final decision came down to a promise he made to his late mother, Dorsetta, as he promised he would get his college degree.

“I promised that I would receive my degree and diploma and I would play in the NFL one day. I want to be 100 sure of my decision,” Smith said on Thursday. “With that being said, I will honor my mother, Dorsetta Smith, I made up my mind and don’t expect to ever look back. I’m going to stay at the University of Tennessee.”

Smith on his decision to say at Tennessee for another season.

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“Yeah, you know, I think I left some money on the field, so to say,” Smith noted. “I think the major thing is I can increase and do better at, be a lot more consistent on my game, you know. I want to attack those areas and you better.”

Smith on how much his family helped him back this decision.

“Yeah, we are a spiritual family, you know,” Smith noted. “We took a lot of time to pray, think about it, you know, did our proper research. Made sure it was the right decision. We came together, we made a decision.”