KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee senior offensive lineman Trey Smith was named to the Sporting News’ 2020 Preseason All-America first team, as announced by the organization on Thursday.
Smith is coming off a dominant junior campaign in which he helped lead the Vols to six consecutive victories to end the season, including a thrilling comeback win over Indiana in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. He was one of eight SEC players named to the first team, the most of any conference.
The Jackson, Tennessee, native received All-SEC first-team accolades from the league’s coaches and media after starting 12 games in 2019. Making his season even more impressive was the fact that Smith was limited to no contact in practices throughout the season after battling back from blood clots in his lungs that forced him to miss the final five games of his sophomore season.
Smith’s incredible return to football as well as his impactful work off the field and in the community earned him the inaugural Fritz Pollard Trophy and the 2019 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award. During the offseason, Smith elected to forgo the NFL Draft and return to school for his senior year.
With Thursday’s announcement, Smith added to an already growing list of preseason All-America honors for the 2020 season that includes honors from the Walter Camp Foundation as well as Athlon and Street & Smith magazines.
Also earning recognition from the Sporting News was junior offensive lineman Cade Mays, who was a second-team selection. Mays transferred to UT from Georgia in the offseason after playing a key part on the Bulldogs’ offensive line the past two years, playing in 25 games while making 18 starts.
Mays was a FWAA Freshman All-American and SEC All-Freshman team selection in 2018. The junior showed his versatility last season, starting at least one game at every position along the offensive line except for center, while helping lead the Bulldogs to a Sugar Bowl victory over Baylor.
Smith and Mays will be part of Tennessee’s talented offensive line that has been rated among the best in the nation by SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic.