Most Underrated Ever: Freddie Smith

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.”

Smith also shares a story in Mark Murphy of Inside the Auburn Tigers‘ new book “Game of My Life.”

freddie-smith.jpg

So fast he pixelates! [only photo I could find, a thumbnail – FFS blocking a Vandy Punt]


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6 Comments

Filed under Most Underrated Ever

6 responses to “Most Underrated Ever: Freddie Smith

  1. el Carg

    Nearly my first memory of Auburn football when I was about 8 was Auburn heading to Arizona to play an opening game of the season. I awoke the next day or probably the next due to filing of west coast stories to the Advertiser, and saw that Freddie Smith had 21 tackles in his first game as a Tiger. If he wasn’t the most underrated, he sure had as much first game impact as anyone.

    • bcc

      I just remember Freddie running down and crushing receivers like Wes Chandler, Chris Collinsworth and Larry Seivers. It seemed like something spectacular was going to happen every defensive down. He was every bit as enthralling to watch as the running backs in that era- Andrews, Brooks, Cribbs and James.

  2. Wow, I think the bigger story here is that Chris from Huntsville actually looked at the “1978 College Action” post and could focus his attentions on the words. What concentration!

  3. Acid Reign

    …..I was in school during the Freddie Smith era. He was a phenom. We’d have given up 40 points a game, probably, if he hadn’t been there. He made all those tackles usually getting off two blocks. He was fast, and he could sling a tight end or fullback down with one arm.

    …..It was no coincidence that we slumped to 0-6 in the SEC, the year after Smith and Big Frank Warren left. Warren would occupy 3 linemen, and Fast Freddie would crush the RB. If we could have covered wide receivers in those days, they’d have been comparing those late ’70s defenses to 1957.

  4. Freda Robinson

    “Fast Freddie” is my dad. I just googled his name to see what type of articles about his career would pop up. It’s always nice to read about your dad being appreciated and acknowledged…even though I’m sure his grandson (my 7yr old) who plays midget football will enjoy it even more! Thanks!

  5. daniel

    I went to the same high school with Freddie, Athens High in northern Alabama, and he played running back. We won two state 3-A championships, and lost a third shot at the championship losing to hanceville in playoffs.

    I played two years behind him, same position. During college I wrote for a magazine called Valley Magazine, and did a story on Freddie going into the USFL. I still have it somewhere, if anyone is interested in reading it.

    I later w

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