This story was updated Feb. 25, 2018, at 11:48 p.m.
Star offensive lineman Trey Smith is expected to miss at least some of Tennessee's upcoming spring practices, according to multiple media reports.
Smith is dealing with a medical issue, according to 247Sports.com, which was among the first to report on the matter. The report did not specify Smith's injury and said his family has requested privacy regarding his health.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Smith was the only offensive lineman to start all 12 games for the Volunteers last season after coming in as ESPN's top-ranked prospect in the 2017 signing class, according to ESPN. He was named to the Football Writers Association of America's Freshman All-America Team.
Smith, who's from Jackson, Tenn., emerged as a vocal leader for the Vols late in the season as the team struggled to a 4-8 record.
"We're not allowing this to happen again," Smith said after Tennessee's season-ending loss to Vanderbilt. "We're going to be great leaders in the locker room, we're all going to have a lot of control and we're going to come back better. I promise that."facebook
The Vols' offensive line is in flux after the loss of Brett Kendrick, Jashon Robertson and Coleman Thomas, who were seniors last season. Beyond any potential long-term concerns about Smith's health, his absence during spring practices will leave first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt with another absence at an already thin position group.
Pruitt implied during his signing day news conference this month that at least a couple of returning offensive linemen would be unavailable for spring practices. There are 13 offensive linemen listed on the spring roster — four of them walk-ons — but Pruitt said at the time that only 11 would be healthy enough for practice.
"We'd like to have 16 to 18 offensive lineman on scholarship," Pruitt said.
K'Rojhn Calbert and Chance Hall missed the 2017 season with injuries that required surgeries, and their statuses for spring practices are not clear.
Tennessee's first spring practice is March 20. The Vols will be allowed 15 practices, the last of which will be the Orange and White Game on April 21.
When Tennessee returns to begin preseason practices in late July, four offensive linemen from the 2018 signing class are set to join the team.