Tennessee seems to have headed off a charging elephant — for now. While many thought Trey Smith might be leaning towards Alabama, a visit to Tennessee seems to have him strongly considering the Vols.
Tennessee’s coaches surprised the four-star offensive lineman during his visit over the weekend. The prospect from University School (Jackson, Tenn.) admitted that he got more than he planned on during the trip. A sense of team was the strongest impression made on Smith.
“It went well,” the 6-foot-5, 302-pound prospect said. “It was a lot of fun. They took a whole different approach than usual. They talked about representing the state, as an in-state player, how big that is.”
Smith said there is definitely an in-state brotherhood, but added that the bond extends beyond just players from the state of Tennessee.
“You don’t have to be in-state to be a part of the team,” said Smith, who is the No. 10 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 4 overall prospect in Tennessee. “A great example is (running back) Alvin Kamara and (quarterback) Josh Dobbs. They’re both from Georgia. There was a lot of team bonding I noticed at Tennessee. It was really cool seeing how everybody reacted with one another.”
Next, it will be Alabama’s turn to impress Smith, who had long admitted to growing up fond of the Crimson Tide. However, Smith said Alabama isn’t considered a leader.
“They don’t really have a position but I think they’re in pretty good standing,” Smith said. “The program speaks for itself. Their resume speaks for itself. They might have one of the best coaches of all time. There’s definitely a standard of excellence down there. Alabama is definitely a school I’m interested in.”
Smith will certainly evaluate Alabama’s football program while on his visit. He’ll also take some notes on how to improve his play.
“Obviously they’re doing something right,” he said. “I want to watch them and sort of emulate that myself, their work ethic and bring that to my game.”
Smith said he also plans to take visits to Ohio State and Notre Dame this spring. If the Vols stay in the race and eventually land Smith, it will be worth looking back on a February visit that showed him unity in Knoxville, Tenn.