By Steve Williams
Best news to come out of SEC Media Days last week was Coach Jeremy Pruitt’s announcement that Trey Smith had been medically cleared to play football and rejoin the team.
The 6-6, 320-pound Smith, who missed spring practice due to an undisclosed medical condition, was tabbed the nation’s top freshman offensive lineman in 2017 and Friday was named to the preseason All-SEC first team.
The Jackson native started every game for the Vols last year and played every position in the offensive line except center. He also became the first UT true freshman in over 30 years to start at left tackle and finished the season with 55 knockdowns.
In meaningless news out of Atlanta, Alabama was picked by the media to win the SEC West and Georgia was the runaway top vote getter in the SEC East.
The media also voted the Crimson Tide to beat the Bulldogs in the SEC championship game.
Our Vols were predicted to come in sixth place in the SEC East. But don’t tear up your season tickets just yet.
The media has only picked the eventual SEC champion correctly six out of 26 times since the conference split into two divisions in 1992.
That’s 23.1 percent.
Well, at least they are above the Mendoza Line.
CHRIS HUNTER is in the Army now. His induction into the United States Military Academy Monday, July 16, “Went well and was really nice,” said his grandmother, Louise Fletcher, Friday.
Fletcher and Chris’ mom Sabrina Robinson attended the swearing-in ceremony at West Point, N.Y., and returned to Knoxville Tuesday.
Hunter is an Austin-East grad and was the Roadrunners’ quarterback last fall. He also was a basketball standout for A-E.
“Chris was allowed to have a one-minute phone call home this week and said boot camp is hard, but he’s doing good,” added Louise.
JOSHUA SOBOTA, Bearden High grad, has had personal record throws in the discus and shot put events since the end of the high school season and ranks in the Top 5 nationally in both events.
The Kentucky signee hurled the discus 200 feet, 5 inches in the Iron Wood Throws Classic in western Idaho on June 2, which ranks No. 3 in the country.
In the New Balance National Outdoors at Greensboro, N.C. on June 17, Joshua heaved the shot 69-1¼ for the No. 4 ranking.
LITTLE LEAGUE’S Tennessee state baseball tournament for 12-year olds is scheduled to run through Thursday this week at Morristown.
The field includes Maryville, Gallatin, Tullahoma, Clarksville National, Johnson City American, South Nashville, Livingston and host Morristown.
The state champion advances to the Southeast Regional and a step closer to Williamsport, Pa., for the annually televised summer classic.