Open Access Articles- Top Results for Zeke Smith

Zeke Smith

Roger Duane "Zeke" Smith (born September 29, 1936 in Walker Springs, Alabama) is a former American football player in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants. He played college football at Auburn University where he was awarded the Outland Trophy in 1958. His banner, along with four other Auburn greats - Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan, Tracy Rocker and Carlos Rogers, is hanging outside Jordan-Hare Stadium in his honor. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1959 NFL Draft. It's rare that on a National Championship team, even one dominated by defense, that an interior lineman is the shining star. During the great run of superlative years enjoyed by Auburn in the late 1950s, there were a number of outstanding linemen playing both ways for a team that would have been to three or four consecutive bowl games, even in the days when there were but four major bowls, if not for their probationary status. Roger Duane "Zeke" Smith was a slow-footed but powerful fullback at tiny Uniontown, AL High School. Most offenses put their biggest and fastest player at fullback and ran him often and Zeke was the star at Uniontown yet went unrecruited by nearby Alabama. Jordan wondered why his rival, just down the road from neighboring Uniontown, wasn't interested in what was supposed to be a decent recruit. Zeke's father and Coach Jordan's father both worked for Southern Railway and after being told of the weekend exploits of his friend's son, he passed the word onto his son Shug. Given one of the final available scholarships, Zeke was immediately moved to the interior line, also a somewhat standard procedure in that era to make the best use of athletic running backs who had potential for growth. The entire Auburn line of 1957 consisted of converted high school fullbacks and Smith went from a back-up frosh center to a redshirt year on the scout team to the starting All Conference guard in the course of two seasons. "I think I was better as a sophomore than as a junior or senior," said Smith, "I was trying harder to make the team." Nicknamed Zeke by his high school coach because of his affection for Georgia quarterback Zeke Bratkowski, Smith was the standout on an exceptional line, especially defensively, and won the Outland Trophy as a junior in '58. Playing linebacker, defensive end, and offensive guard, Smith lasted six pro years with the Colts, Giants, and Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in an injury-plagued career but he remains the standard by which all Auburn linemen are measured.