UT notebook: Jacques Smith '100 percent' after surgeries

Jacques Smith back on active roster after surgery on both ankles

Fresh off the first major surgery of his life, Jacques Smith was approached by a Tennessee trainer and team surgeon with an opportunity to extend and better his football career.

The only catch: The sophomore defensive end would have to go through a second surgery, this time on the foot opposite the one that was still recovering from a similar procedure.

Though it wasn't exactly the most enticing offer, Smith, who was "physically 100 percent" during Tuesday's practice, didn't waffle.

"It was pretty much a simple decision," he said. "Any athlete, if they have a chance to fix something that they know has gone wrong in their bodies, I think everyone would fix it."

Smith fractured the metatarsal bone in his right foot during a non-contact play in one of the Vols' final spring practices. He immediately had surgery and sported a walking boot for the Orange and White game, where he received the "Big Lick Award," an honor given to players who consistently play with the most toughness.

Two months later, Smith approached team doctors to "examine everything we're doing." So, he had his left foot X-rayed, revealing a minor stress fracture.

"It's part of being an athlete. You don't know what's hurting you," Smith said. "That's why they suggest you go in every day and if there's something bothering you, you need to go check it out."

Despite the double surgeries, Smith said he was able to do "mostly everything" with his teammates during summer conditioning drills. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, he sparred with one of the Vols' trainers in the boxing ring.

His quick recovery is a vital one for the Vols, who return just one starter on the defensive front seven.

"I hope it holds up," coach Derek Dooley said. "He looked good out there, he looked fresh."

Young Update: Dooley was able to provide some clarity on how freshman Devrin Young broke his collar bone, but was unable to speculate on a potential return date for the Bearden High product.

Dooley said Young, who was expected to compete for UT's vacancy at punt returner, injured his shoulder last week, was promptly X-rayed and granted a clean bill of health. Running through drills Monday, Young's collar bone "finally gave," Dooley said.

"It's too bad," Dooley said, "but we've got to put in the next guy."

Jackson Glowing: Back with the Vols for the first time since the Music City Bowl, safety Janzen Jackson was "like a glow out there" during Tuesday's practice.

"He's got a smile on his face. This is what Janzen loves," Dooley said of Jackson, who withdrew from UT in February because of "personal reasons" before re-enrolling last month. "I'm happy that he's with our team, not because it makes our team better, but you can just see his soul brighten up out there."

Raulston Gone: Doak Raulston, a transfer quarterback from Louisiana Tech whose arrest for driving under the influence made headlines last year, is no longer with the team.

UT did not provide a reason for his departure.

Raulston sat out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. He was suspended immediately after his DUI, but rejoined the team for spring practice.

Practice Report: Dooley said he didn't see anything different than what he expected from the Vols' first practice, which is "usually a good thing."

"These first three days I hate anyway, because we're sitting there running around in helmets," Dooley said. "I'll be anxious to put the pads, and that really when you see, 'Where are we?' "

The Vols will follow the same practice schedule today, with veteran players beginning at 2:15 p.m. and freshmen/newcomers slated to start at 7:45 p.m.

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

Austin Ward contributed to this report.

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Comments » 11

VolGrad writes:

Rub some dirt on it.


TheOpinion writes:

Walk it off. This guy if he's really 100% I expect him to have at least 6 sacks this year.

VolGrad writes:

I think he's ready to hit someone other than his teammates.

And Janzen with a smile on his face...; that should strike fear into the hearts of QBs all around the league.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

Sounds like we are healing up! I just hope we stay that way.

kcbigorngX writes:

Dangerous is the moment Mr. Smith steps on the field. If this beast keeps getting stronger, his name will surely be up there beside Reggie White in the not too distant future.

He will pile up 6 sacks in the first 2 games if he isn't double teamed on every play. Wilcox should be looking for screens and draws in his direction frequently.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

Smith and Walls should wreak havoc this year. And that Willy Bohannon will get in some licks.

kcbigorngX writes:

Watching Jaques reminds me of the good old days when playing defense with an attitude would literally strike fear in whoever was holding the ball.

He carries the blood of Carl Eller, Dick Butkus and Deacon Jones.

Turn 'em loose, Dooley.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Unleash The Beast!!! I have a feeling that one day he will be one of the most feared pass rushers in the SEC..Just keep your head on straight,Jacques..Can't wait to see you play again this year and wreak havoc on opposing QB's.

Smokey is still on the prowl for some QB sacks...

Volunatic writes:

Glad to hear Jacques is going to be ready to play. The Vols will need STRONG play on the ends while UT's linebackers gain experience.
I can't wait until it's officially FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!

VOLliven2it writes:

Jaques, glad you are back man and we want to see you hitting people like there is no tomorrow. We will need you to help stop some tough running games coming our way. Stay healthy and mean as can be. It's coming quickly and I am believing you will be ready. GO BIG ORANGE!

givehim6 writes:

I do not worry about our D, think it will be better then the media tells us, players we were told we would not see till Oct. are in fall practis. I think the younger guys will be more focused because of this. I still will be concerned about UT's punt return and special teams play, it's always been the weak spot.

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