Class of 2008
In his Athens High School football career, Smith rushed for 4,856 yards, 2,156 of those yards his senior season, made 385 tackles over three years and was named the Class 3A State Player of the Year in 1975. He was also an All-American prep player in 1975 and was named team captain and MVP of the state championship team. Smith led the Athens Golden Eagles to a state football championship, was a two-time All- State running back who scored 37 touchdowns his senior season in 1975. Not only was he outstanding in football but he was also an All-American prep track star while at Athens High School.
After leading the Golden Eagles to a state championship under last year's HOF inductee Larry McCoy, Smith was heavily recruited and considered offers from Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Alabama A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Florida. He decided to sign with Auburn, which had come off a disappointing 25th and final season for legendary coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan who retired.
"I remember Auburn invited me to come to campus and the people there seemed more down to earth," Smith recalled. "They really welcomed me in like they had known me all of their lives. The people there were real friendly. They made me feel real comfortable and that is why I chose Auburn."
According to Mark Murphy's publication on Auburn football, "Memorable Stories of Tiger Football," Freddie exceeded even the most optimistic expectations through his contributions in the fall of 1976, the year Doug Barfield took over as head coach for the Tigers. In the history of Auburn football, few freshmen have made anything close to the impact on their teams as Freddie Smith did. "His athletic ability generated countless discussions as to where his talents could best be used on a team that needed help on both sides of the ball," wrote Murphy. "With the greater need on defense, Smith was tried at linebacker and he didn't disappoint."
"It didn't matter to me whether I played defense or offense as long as I could help the team win," Smith told Murphy. "I think I could have excelled at either position. If they had wanted me to play both ways, I would have. When I got over there at linebacker, I liked it. I said it was better to give than receive."
In a game against Baylor his freshman season, Smith set an Auburn record with 22 tackles. Then a week later "Fast Freddie," as he was nicknamed, broke his own record with 24 tackles as the Tigers won their SEC opener defeating Tennessee 38-28 in Birmingham.
At Auburn, Smith was a four-year starter at linebacker and is the school's all-time leading tackler with 528 tackles or 13.2 tackles a game. He was named National Lineman of the Week in Sept. 1976 against SMU .
Smith went on to play professional football. He was a member of the NFL Minnesota Vikings and starred in the Canadian Football League with the Winnipeg Bombers. He also played for the professional Birmingham Stallions.
Today, Freddie lives in Birmingham. He and wife, Gwendolyn, have two children, Freda and Tim. He has been employed with Brasfield and Gorrie Construction Co. for the past 20 years.