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Tennessee TE Jacob Warren is being prepped by a former Vol turned NFL standout

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With his dynamic collegiate career behind him and an NFL career in view, VFL tight end Jacob Warren has much to be proud of and a lot to look forward to. The NFL Draft is three months away and as you might expect, Warren is spending the offseason preparing for his pro football future. What might surprise you is who he is prepping with. On the latest episode of the Vol Report, Warren shares which former Vol is helping him get ready for the NFL, mentally as well as physically. 

After Tennessee’s blow out win over Iowa in the Citrus Bowl, Warren said goodbye to the Vols’ and shifted his focus to what was next to come. And what came next only happened with the assistance of Warren’s mother. It was she who helped facilitate a meeting with former NFL tight end and Knoxville native Lee Smith.  

“My mom actually saw a post on Twitter or Instagram or something that a former NFL player and local guy was opening a gym,” recalled Warren. “(Smith) seemed like a good guy. Someone that I would like to be around and associate myself with.” 

Smith only played for Tennessee a short time, as a DUI resulted in him being cut from the team about a month into his first season. He turned things around and went on to have an impressive pro career. After 11 years in the NFL, Smith returned to the town he grew up in and opened a gym, Triple F – for Faith, Family, and Football. Three core values that are close to Warren’s heart as well. 

“I reached out to (Smith) and I said, I know you probably don’t know me, but you seem like the type of person that can help me a lot,” said Warren. “(You) can help me grow, can help me reach the things that I want to reach. I want to be mentored and learn what I can from you about the game, about life, about work… working out, lifting weights, all these things about the NFL, just everything.” 

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Smith’s offer was more than gracious. “He reached out to me pretty quickly and was like, literally anything that I can do for you… come work out with me and come just hang out or if you want to, come get dinner with us,” said Warren. “Whatever you need. I’m here for you. And ever since day one, truly, I felt that way.” 

What about Smith’s on-field skills inspires Warren? “(Smith) was a very unique type of player, a unique tight end. For those that have ever seen him, he’s 6’7”, 280lbs,” Warren said. “What he was able to do in the core… just blocking wise… nobody was as good as him.” 

But for Warren, it’s not just Smith’s playing abilities he admires. “I know he had a big impact on a lot of people,” said Warren. “If you go to his gym now, he’s got more than 50 jerseys up on the wall of guys that he’s swapped with… people that have had an impact on him in his life. It’s cool to look out there and to see how many people appreciate him and like him enough to give him a jersey for him to put up on his wall.” 

Warren’s time spent with Smith has been invaluable for the future NFL star. “He is truly a role model for me,” declared Warren. “He’s been everywhere that I want to be, so I’m going to follow his direction, follow his lead.”

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