Many during and after The Opening 2016 admitted the offensive line group was the best unit in the event's history. Perhaps it was because of how dominant it was against the defensive line all week or maybe it was the sheer star power. Either way, the versatility of five-star Jackson (Tenn.) University School talent Trey Smith, who worked at both guard and tackle, only helped the cause during run blocking drills or in pass protection.
A rare two-time participant at the noted event held at Nike's World Headquarters, there was a clear goal every time the field was taken.
"Just to get better every day, that's the only reason you come out here," he said.
Releasing a top six of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame on The Opening's final day, it came after plenty of fellow blue chip linemen campaigned for Smith to join the effort to whichever program they were committed to.
"A lot of O-linemen, committed to other schools have talked to me, they say come to my school, it would be dirty with you," Smith said. "I know there's some dogs out there."
Crimson Tide pledge Alex Leatherwood was among them.
"You know it," Leatherwood said. "We're sitting very well with him. He thinks me, him, Cesar [Ruiz], Jedrick [Wills] could be better than the [D.J.] Fluker, [Cyrus] Kouandiko and [Barrett] Jones line (at Alabama)."
Smith elected not to name names but admitted the aggressive approach was something that affects his view of the remaining programs in contention.
"Absolutely. A five-star, no scratch the rankings, give me a three-star. But you show you're a dog on that field and somebody else wants to come with you, and you're a dog, too? Man, it's gonna be crazy out there," he said. "You want a dog next to you in the trenches and I've seen a lot out here."
The line Leatherwood referenced, which notched a national title while together, is one the Volunteer State star is plenty familiar with. It's part of the reason the Crimson Tide is high on his list.
"They're in pretty good standing," Smith said of Alabama. "Process, process, process, that's all I can say. It's proven its worth, great O-linemen have been produced there. Every time I go there they play the left tackle clip, I actually have a copy on my phone, it's legendary to me. Andre Smith all the way up to Cam Robinson, you know big Cam is gonna be next. They produce linemen like no other school.
"I was a big fan of Alabama, I watch the 2012 offensive line, they really killed Notre Dame in that national championship. That was one of the best offensive lines in college football. They prove that it works down there."
Looking to next visit "Tennessee, Ohio State, Notre Dame, maybe Michigan" at some point this summer, Smith is also looking to take each of his official visits before a December decision. The pick will come down to his relationship with future position coaches, potential success beyond the college level and life after football.
"What programs do they have for me to better myself for life?" he said. "This football stuff can end, I can go down next play tomorrow. I got to have a plan."
The rising-senior prospect will enroll at his school of choice come Januarynull