Tennessee Vol Trey Smith details how faith kept him optimistic during his return to football


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee offensive linemen Trey Smith has already faced plenty of adversity through his young football career.

The junior from Jackson, Tenn. has been a staple on the Vols’ offensive line through the first four games of the season, nearly a year after his football career was in question when blood clots were once again found in his lungs. 

“It was relief,” Smith said about when he learned he could still play the game. “At the same time, I knew there were challenges I was going to have to face. At the end of the day, with my trust in God, I knew that I could get through it. To God be the glory because without Him, I wouldn’t be here.”

Smith spent the offseason looking for a solution. While he did not want to go into detail about his current plan, it’s given him confidence that he can continue to play football.

“I think it’s a great plan,” Smith said. “I think it’s working very well. “We’ve met with some of the best doctors in the country, and they have a great plan for me. I don’t have any fear,” Smith said. “I believe in God. He keeps me safe, He’s kept me safe to this point. I have no fear. I had a vision that I would be back and playing and that I would be successful playing as well. But you know, you have that continual faith in God that He’ll get you back.”

Smith, who arrived to Rocky Top in 2017 as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect according to ESPN, was not ready to put an end to his football career.

“Since I was a little boy I’ve always dreamed about playing football, watching CBS with Verne Lundqvist on TV,” Smith said. “From a young age, I’ve always dreamed about it. Whenever they gave me another opportunity, I didn’t hesitate. I have an undying love for the game. It’s almost like an illness. I can’t get it out of me. I love the game of football. If I could find something else that I loved more than this than I would probably be doing it but to be quite frank, I just love this too much.”

While Smith has returned to the playing field, his routine before game days looks different. He was held out of full-contact work for most of the offseason and while he’s happy to be back, Smith has not been pleased with his performance.

“I’m extremely motivated but as a competitor, I’m always motivated,” Smith said. “As a perfectionist, I’m never satisfied so in my opinion, I haven’t played good ball so I’ve got to keep going. There’s a lot of improvements and things I need to adjust to make changes to.”

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