Tennessee’s Trey Smith Named as Ninth Nominee for 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award
MIAMI LAKES, FL. –Tennessee’s Trey Smith is this week’s nominee for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Smith, a junior offensive lineman, has started the last nine games for the Volunteers after dealing with blood clots throughout much of the past year.
“I knew I was gonna be back. It’s hard to explain,” Smith told The Athletic in September.
Smith lost his mother, Dorsetta, to heart complications when he was just 15 as well.
In 2017, Smith entered college as ESPN’s No. 1 overall high school prospect from that class. He made good on that ranking by becoming the first Tennessee true freshman to start at left tackle in more than 30 years. He started all 12 games, earned freshman All-America honors, earned SEC all-freshman honors and even was named second-team All-SEC. His 55 knockdowns were a team-high.
But doctors found blood clots in Smith’s lungs in February of 2018. He was limited during the offseason and then played in only seven games in 2018 before being shut down for the season. The blood clots returned in the offseason, jeopardizing Smith’s 2019 campaign and his football career.
The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder stayed in shape all offseason, in the event that he would be cleared. That breakthrough finally came just ahead of the 2019 season. Vols coaches eased Smith back into the action, as he did not start the first game and was on a snap-count limit early on.
Smith began the season at left tackle before sliding inside to left guard, where he has started the last eight games. The Jackson, Tenn., native recorded 11 knockdown blocks in an Oct. 12 win against Mississippi State, earning SEC co-offensive lineman of the week honors.
The Courage Award was first presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. A select group of writers from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship. The winner of the award will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation.
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