Most kids going into their second year of high school are concerned about the same things. Getting their driver’s license, acclimating to an increased workload, and maybe going out on a date or two.
Rising sophomore and in-state offensive line prospect Trey Smith, on the other hand, is focusing on a football career that is already showing great potential.
Smith, who plays in the trenches for University School of Jackson., has only played one year of high-school football but has already earned a pair of Southeastern Conference scholarship offers.
“I just want to say, both of the programs I visited (this summer), they just have great facilities, the coaches are awesome, they all stress Christian and family values. … everybody’s very close at both programs,” Smith told InsideTennessee.
While Smith had equally high praise for the Rebels and Vols, he admitted the early interest from his state school has been quite encouraging.
“It’s just an awesome experience overall. It just tells me I have the opportunity to play at a collegiate level,” Smith said of his offer from the Vols. “It’s a great opportunity for me. I was very excited about it.”
A trio of Tennessee coaches have taken the lead on Smith’s recruitment — second-year coach Butch Jones, offensive line coach Don Mahoney and defensive line coach Steve Stripling. Thus far, the staff on Rocky Top seems to have cultivated an important level of comfort with Smith.
“It’s just a family atmosphere," the sophomore said. "It’s just like when you go (to Knoxville), it’s like you’re stepping into your own home. I mean, a player can walk into coach Strip’s office and just talk to him like a regular conversation, nothing up-tight about it. I like that about it.”
Though Smith is still in the beginning stages of his development as a player, he says the Vols have expressed a lot of interest in his growing athletic ability up to this point.
“(Tennessee’s staff) said I have great feet. … that’s main thing,” Smith said. “My coach always says a big guy who can move his feet can be a millionaire one day. That’s what I like. I try to put that in my mind as one of my mottos.”
While Tennessee will continue to be a factor in his recruitment over the next few years, Smith is taking it as slow as he can and trying to stay engaged with what’s at stake every day. When asked if the Vols could be his early leader, Smith said he "wouldn’t go that far yet.”
“As of now, I want to focus on my own high school team at USJ. I just want to do what (USJ) coach Mickey Marley is telling me — contribute to my team where they need me.”
Though no official scholarship offer has been extended yet, Smith mentioned fellow Volunteer State school and SEC Eastern Division rival Vanderbilt has shown some interest.
“I went to Vandy’s camp, and (their coaching staff) actually called about me recently,” Smith said. “They talked a bunch about me.”Smith knows he’ll visit Ole Miss and Tennessee during the fall and says plans for other trips have not yet been made.