By Chris from Huntsville
I’m actually submitting this more from the prospective “Which ex -AU player would you most like to have lunch with.”
In your wonderful “1978 College Action” post you see a line mentioning Freddie Smith. I’m not sure he was underrated, but in this day and age his name is scarcely, if ever, mentioned.
As a young lad I attended a few games in his era. Not knowing a thing about football, I just contently ate my hot dogs, candy, and ran around trying to grow my AU plastic cup collection (on a AU souvenir cup collection note, I’ve got over 100 “100 years of AU Football” cups in my attic, but that’s a story for another day). After almost EVERY tackle the PA announcer would say “Tackle made by Freddie Smith.” I’d turn to Pop and ask him, “is there more than one Freddie Smith on our team?” Pop would say, “no, its just one guy but he has to cover the whole field.” Then we sat there and counted how many times they would call his name.
He played in the down era – I thank him for his unheralded contributions. He was truly a man among boys
There was a Freddie Smith that Directed the State of Alabama Prison system in the ’90s. I would hear his name on the news a lot. I’m sure it’s not the same guy, but I like to think it is, and he got a just reward.
Many thanks to Chris from Huntsville. The “Most Underrated… “ idea is beginning to bloom like I’d hoped. Smith, actually known as “Fast Freddie” Smith, was just a couple of years before my time – that, combined with playing in the “down era,” makes him a player I know little about. But we can be sure that Chris isn’t detailing phantom memories of greatness because the least bit of research turns up Smith as Auburn’s all-time tackle leader: 529 between ’76-’79. Assuming he played in 44 games, that’s about 12 tackles per game, good Lord…
Here’s a blurb from the ’78 Glom: “It was apparent from the opening minutes of the (Kentucky) game that sophomore Freddie Smith would be the backbone of the defense. Smith began the season leading the Tigers in tackles, bringing down 13 ball carriers and blocking a punt.”