In trying to decide with which of the elite programs Trey Smith will sign a National Letter of Intent, it can be helpful to see two of the top options play each other head to head.
The University School of Jackson junior offensive tackle was behind the north end zone at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa to see No. 8 Alabama host Tennessee on Saturday in what Smith called a “great game.”
“It was exciting, definitely a big game,” said Smith, whose father joined him. “My family, before I was even getting recruited, we always made it a point to always go to Alabama or Tennessee. That was like just a traditional family game. It’s always a really good rivalry, probably one of my favorite rivalries in the SEC just growing up.”
The Volunteers took a fourth-quarter lead but the home team rallied with a late score to get the victory.
“I thought Tennessee looked great, honestly,” Smith said. “They’re obviously making strides each year. It’s really making itself known and prevalent just from them playing better quality opponents lately.”
The Scout four-star junior keeps an eye on those who play his position. On Saturday, Smith observed Tennessee freshman tackle Chance Hall and freshman guard Jack Jones “because they’re freshmen, just seeing how they get acclimated.”
“I usually would watch Jashon Robertson because he’s usually the top dog of their offensive linemen down there, but I think he was hurt that game for sure.”
With Isaiah Stokes giving up football, Smith becomes Scout's No. 1-rated offensive tackle in the Volunteer State's 2017 class. The 6-foot-5, 287-pounder has heavy interest in both Alabama and Tennessee with committable offers from both. Over a dozen other schools join those two in pursuit of the four-star prospect. No one appears to have the lead.
“Honestly, I don’t really know,” Smith said. “I flip-flop from different schools. From time to visit to next week, I really don’t know where I want to go — that’s just the honest truth. I don’t have any leaders because if I do have a leader, it’ll be different the next day. I guess it’s really just going to come down to my senior year I guess after The Opening sometime this summer. I’m probably going to sit down with my dad here maybe in a couple months, just talk to him, see where we stand and then this summer I’m probably going to be narrowing down some schools.”
Smith isn’t the type to select a school because of a 100,000-seat stadium, alternate uniforms or 40,000-square foot weight room. He wants those that lead the program to make an impression.
“I guess just a great relationship with the coaching staff,” he said. “The schools I flip-flop with, I have tremendous relationships with them. I want them to be a team that’s prevalent in the college football world. That’s just my mindset. I want to go somewhere pretty big. Really all it takes is just a good coaching staff and a pretty good football team. You don’t even have to be good, honestly. I can’t really explain it. I’m not really looking toward the material things like stadium size; I can get over that, it doesn’t matter. Uniforms, brand…I don’t care about that. Just coaching staff, just who I’m going to be comfortable around the next four years of my life probably.”
The Jackson son plans to enroll in college in January 2017. A declaration may not come until after his senior season at University School of Jackson.
“As of now I’m totally scrambled. I really don’t know.”
Scout regional recruiting analyst John Garcia Jr. contributed to this report.