KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee football team finished its third practice of fall camp Wednesday, but a freshman’s position might already be coming into focus.
Coach Butch Jones said offensive lineman Trey Smith is finding his position for the fall. But Jones warned of expectations for Smith growing too quickly.
“Trey’s settled in at guard, and I think we all have to be careful,” Jones said after practice Tuesday. “He’s never played one down of college football. Even us as coaches, we have to step back. He’s still a true freshman, and make sure that we don’t put too many expectations on him early.”
Smith has never taken a snap for the Vols, but the hype around him is real. The Humboldt, Tenn., native came out of high school ranked as the best player in the country according to ESPN, though every recruiting service listed Smith as a tackle.
Smith enrolled at Tennessee in January and practiced with the team in the spring.
Jones said he likes the way Smith came into fall camp has competed with the other offensive linemen.
“And he’s competing for a job every single day,” Jones said. “That’s what I really like about the offensive line room. They’re competing every single day. We have some competitive battles right there, and that’s going to help them and that’s going to elevate their game.”
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound guard brings the size starting running back John Kelly wanted up front.
“Trey, he’s a big boy up there, and that’s definitely something that we needed for this O-line, too,” Kelly said.
Smith is one of the biggest players on Tennessee’s roster.
Offensive linemen Brett Kendrick and Ryan Johnson are his only teammates who are 6-6. Only defensive linemen Eric Crosby (336) and Maurese Smith (324) weigh more than Smith.