Tennessee Volunteers offensive lineman Trey Smith said he's received medical clearance for the 2018 season after being diagnosed with blood clots in February.
On Tuesday, Chris Low of ESPN.com provided comments from Smith after he was treated with six months of blood-thinning medication.
"I've never been in this situation before, so I'm just ready to get back out there and really play football again, to hit somebody again," he said. "When I first got the verdict back in February, I understood the severity of what was going on.
"But it was comforting that everybody at UT just kept telling me that it wasn't about football, but about my well-being and my life, and not when I was going to get back. They were concerned about me as a person. I just had to take my time with it and let God do his work."
Smith missed the entirety of spring practice because of the health issue.
Tennessee team physician Dr. Chris Klenck told Low the versatile lineman will begin with conditioning and non-contact drills before potentially moving to full contact after finishing the medication treatment around mid-August.
"There's always a risk of a new blood clot forming," Klenck said. "There is no scenario where the risk is zero percent. There's still a chance. You just have to be vigilant of signs and symptoms of blood clots."
He added it was "Trey's decision" to get back on the field.
Smith, who can play tackle or guard, was named to the All-SEC Second Team at the conclusion of his freshman season last year. He was voted to the preseason All-Sec First Team earlier this month.
The Vols are scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 1 against West Virginia. His potential availability for that contest should become more clear once he returns to contract drills.