The Tennessee Volunteers picked up a big win on Tuesday with the commitment of offensive tackle Trey Smith. Smith, a 5-star offensive tackle from Jackson, Tennessee, pledged to the Vols over Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State, among others.
With the way UT finished the season, this is a major coup for struggling head coach Butch Jones.
While 247Sports has Smith as a composite 5-star and ranked as the nation’s No. 25 overall prospect for 2017, ESPN has Smith listed as their No. 1 overall player. Meanwhile, Rivals has him much lower, ranking Smith No. 97 overall.
Regardless of the differing opinions regarding Smith, this is a talented prospect the Volunteers had to get. Not only does Smith look like a player that could come in as a freshman and start, he is also a tremendous addition in terms of perception.
With all that’s gone wrong for Jones recently, whether it’s failing to meet expectations again, players opting to transfer in the middle of the season, or previous commitments backing out of their pledges, the addition of Smith moves Tennessee’s 2017 class into the Top 10 of 247Sports Composite Team Rankings.
That’s big for the Volunteers as they try to close this upcoming class strong.
Smith, at almost 6’6” and 310 pounds, looks the part already. In addition to his size, Smith has terrific athleticism and his footwork is advanced for a player his age. Smith plays with a nasty streak and if you watch his film, he finishes blocks. He will play offensive tackle at the next level, although which side will be determined once he arrives in Knoxville.
The weaknesses in Smith’s game are easily fixable. As with many high school linemen, Smith will need coached on his technique. In high school, Smith is used to dominating his opponents on sheer size and athleticism. Once he arrives in the SEC, that won’t work on every play. Also, pad level is in area for Smith to improve upon. But, like most players who stand 6’4” or taller, pad level is always an area where players need to find consistency.
Can Tennessee close strong after the addition of Smith, or should we expect more attrition to the Vols’ class of 2017?
Well, these next two months should be fun to watch around Tennessee and the rest of the SEC.