Pruitt Reflects on Trey Smith's Handling of Health Issues, Praises Him Ahead of Saturday's Season-Opener

Matthew Ray

Trey Smith was diagnosed with blood clots in his lung in February of 2018. He was forced to sit out from the game he loved twice due to health issues. He had the opportunity to forego his senior season, but in an emotional announcement this spring, he announced his intentions to return. 

Smith has been able to practice in full pads this year more than years past, he has improved his physical conditioning, and his teammates have voiced that he looks improved and comfortable. 

Smith will kick off his senior season on Saturday against South Carolina, and Jeremy Pruitt had high praise for him during Wednesday's media availability. 

Pruitt was asked on what he saw from Smith during his health issues," a guy that stayed positive, that thought about others instead of himself. A time when he couldn’t do what he loves to do, instead of sitting around and dwelling on it, he looked for a way that he could have a positive impact on others. Trey has really been a fantastic leader around here. One of my favorite guys that I’ve had a chance to be around and coach over the years.”

Pruitt would add on Smith, "Everything that Trey does, he takes seriously. He’s a very serious young man. He’s had a plan. He’s really tried to work his plan while he’s in college as far as getting involved in the community. He’s got a big heart. The guy has worked extremely hard to overcome some things from a health perspective to be able to go out there and play like he does on Saturdays. I know he’s excited about this game coming up. He’s worked hard to prepare, and he’s got an opportunity to practice many more times than he has the previous two years, and I’m glad he’s getting this opportunity.”

Smith has received numerous preseason honors, and he was just selected to the All-SEC preseason offensive 1st team by the media yesterday. Smith will be a key focal point for the Vols on Saturday night, as they will look to establish the ground game early. 

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