HomeNewsJackson celebrates ‘Trey Day’

Jackson celebrates ‘Trey Day’

The lobby of the Carl Perkins Civic Center looked like four parties rolled into one.

A number of City of Jackson employees were wearing t-shirts with the new Jackson flag on them, celebrating the Hub City.

Others from University School of Jackson were there decked out in their red and blue synonymous with the Bruins’ athletic teams.

There were others wearing their orange representing the Tennessee Volunteers.

But all that was overwhelmed by the bright shade of red associated with the Kansas City Chiefs, the winners of Super Bowl LVII in February.

Then the guest of honor for all the parties arrived, and everyone in unison gave him a warm, loud welcome.

Trey Smith was home.

“I’ve always been an Oakland Raiders fan, but Trey turned me into a Chiefs fan,” said Jackson Mayor Scott Conger while speaking during “Trey Day,” referring to the rivalry between the Raiders and Chiefs, one of the more storied rivalries in the NFL.

Smith graduated from University School of Jackson in December of 2016 after committing and signing with the University of Tennessee. He did so as the top-rated football recruit in the entire nation as rated by ESPN, playing offensive lineman. He started for four seasons at Tennessee before being drafted two years ago by the Chiefs.

Along with Conger, other speakers at the event included USJ strength and conditioning coach Nick Stamper and former USJ head coach Mickey Marley.

Stamper told a story that exemplified the leadership skills Smith had his first year at Tennessee.

“[USJ soccer coach Paul Conway] has a friend who’s a professor at Tennessee and had Trey in class his freshman year,” Stamper said before looking at Trey and letting him know this may be a story he’s never heard before. “He had a few football players in class, and some of them were missing a lot of class and failing.

“Then one day, the teacher pulled Trey aside and let him know the situation his teammates were in and say, ‘Hey these guys are failing and missing class, and they need to get here and do their work.’ The next day Trey was sitting in the front row and he had all his teammates with him sitting up front with him. And that was his freshman year.”

Marley told about the first time he saw Trey. It was when he was in second grade.

“I saw all these second-graders, and then there was this big kid with them, and I asked my wife Lisa, who that was,” Marley said. “And she said he was in second grade.

“But he was so much bigger than everybody else in the class. I thought he was teaching second grade, or maybe he had eaten the second grade. But I said they needed to make sure he got to third grade and every year after that.”

Smith then took the podium in front of about 250 friends, family and supporters. He talked about the love he had for Jackson as his hometown and how much he appreciates the support from the area even now that he’s playing in Kansas City.

He talked about his family and trying to emulate his father, Henry, when he was younger.

“I wanted to be an NFL player when I grew up, and every time we went to Haywood County to see my grandmother, I’d meet someone I didn’t know that would tell me about my dad,” Smith said after the event during a press conference. “He was a bad man on the football field, and I wanted to be a bad man on the football field too.”

While Smith has had plenty of people discuss the kind of person he is off the field – nice, courteous, soft-spoken, kind, etc. – he tries to be the polar opposite on the field.

“I want to be the most violent man on the field whenever I’m out there,” Smith said. “That’s just a mindset.

“I don’t do anything big like listening to a certain kind of music or anything like that in pregame. It’s just relaxing and focusing in on the game and what I need to do while I’m out there.”

The Super Bowl win was a first for Trey in his entire time playing football. At USJ, the Bruins made it to the Division II-A semifinals while he was there. Tennessee had a hard time competing at a national level during his time with the Vols. So for the first time, Smith gets to enjoy an offseason as a champion.

“It was great to be a champion, particularly at this level,” Smith said. “Everyone wants to go to the NFL, and everyone wants to win the Super Bowl.

“I’m the fourth one from Jackson to be a part of a Super Bowl champion, so I think that’s enough to call Jackson ‘Title Town.’”

Smith joined Ed “Too Tall” Jones (Merry High School, Dallas Cowboys), Trey Teague (USJ, Denver Broncos) and Jabari Greer (South Side, New Orleans Saints) as Jackson’s Super Bowl champions.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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