Vols playing for Trey Smith, who will miss rest of season

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Trey Smith was not with the Vols when they made the trip to South Carolina this weekend.

Instead, Smith had to watch the game from Knoxville, after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs - again.

The sophomore offensive lineman had been on blood thinners for six months, and wasn't cleared for full contact until late August.

On the Vols' radio pregame show, Coach Jeremy Pruitt ruled Smith out for any return this season, after previously saying he'd be out indefinitely.

"Everybody knew Trey's circumstance," Pruitt said. "There wasn't any secrets. Everybody knew it. Everybody knew what was going on and everybody knew this could possibly happen at some point in time.

"We had our fingers crossed it wouldn't, but unfortunately it did and our doctors did a great job of figuring it out. I think our guys want to play well. They want to play well for Trey, there selves and this university."

A former five-star recruit, Smith was a FWAA Freshman All-American and Freshman All-SEC player in 2017. He started all 12 games in his freshman season.

"He's a great teammate and fully supports us," sophomore running back Ty Chandler said. "Even though he can't play, he is still with us encouraging us every day. I live with him and he's a great teammate."

Senior Darrin Kirkland Jr. said Smith's message to his teammates was not to give up on the season, and put on more steam.

"He's a great competitor and leader," Kirkland said. "It's an unfortunate situation. He's my brother and I've worked with him all offseason. It's a guy that is still a part of our football team in multiple ways besides being on the field. He's a vocal leader inside the classroom and meeting room by pushing his o-line to the best of his ability."

Marcus Tatum got the start at left tackle Saturday.

Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano had the number "73" etched in his eye black as a show of support for his teammate.