In modern football the fullback has become a lost art but Enterprise great Cedric Smith perfected the position during his long career playing the game.
Smith – who is now a coach in the NFL – was a part of one of the most potent backfields in Enterprise High School history as Smith and fellow running back Calvin Flowers combined for more than 2,000 yards in 1985 and both earned all-state honors.
While Smith played both tailback and fullback in legendary Enterprise coach Bill Bacon’s physical style of offense but quickly became known around the state as one of the most feared and effective blockers. Still, despite being such an effective blocker, Smith piled up 679 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior and scored a school-record five touchdowns against Central-Tuscaloosa.
Smith was named the team’s Most Valuable Player at the end of his senior season after averaging more than six yards per carry and being the lead blocker for running back Calvin Flowers.
After his stellar high school career Smith accepted a scholarship to play college football at the University of Florida, choosing the Gators over a number of other offers from the likes of Alabama and Tennessee.
At Florida, Smith became even more well-known as an effective blocker leading the way for future NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith to carve up defenses for the Gators. While Cedric Smith only carried the ball a total of 102 times in his four-year college career, he managed to turn those carries into 398 yards and four touchdowns. It was his blocking that helped propel him to the next level, though.
Emmitt Smith piled up nearly 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns rushing in his three years running behind Smith as his lead blocker. Emmitt Smith pointed to Cedric Smith as one of his favorite teammates during his playing days.
“I think I valued my fullback, Cedric Smith, so much because we ran the I-formation, very similar to what we did with the Cowboys,” Emmitt Smith told USA Today. “(Cowboys fullback) Darryl Johnson, too, I valued (them) so much. So, if there was something that was missing (after retiring) or that I value, it was probably that relationship, that fullback-running back relationship.”
Both of Florida’s Smith’s would be drafted in the 1990 NFL Draft with Emmitt Smith going to the Dallas Cowboys in the first round and Cedric Smith going to the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round. Smith was the first Enterprise player to ever be drafted by the NFL and is still the only former Wildcat to be selected in the NFL Draft.
After one year with the Vikings – and just one start – Cedric Smith signed with the New Orleans Saints for one season and then moved on to the Washington Redskins where he started eight games and played in 14 games in 1994. He caught 15 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown that season.
After another season with the Redskins, Cedric Smith signed with the Arizona Cardinals and played in 31 games in two seasons with the Cardinals. He scored his first rushing touchdown in the NFL in 1996 with the Cardinals. In six NFL seasons, Cedric Smith totaled 40 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns along with 20 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Smith shared a roster spot with fellow Coffee County legend Ronald McKinnon – who played his high school career at Elba – with Arizona. In 2018, Smith was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame.
Smith said that his time playing for Bacon at EHS helped form his mental toughness to be able to play in the SEC and NFL.
“I felt like I had been trained mentally and physically to be ready for everything they could throw at me,” Smith told The Sun back in 2018. “I never got too high or too low and the key to that is to keep your poise and keep an even keel. I think Coach Bacon and his staff did an excellent job of teaching us how to be that way.”
Smith – who was also known as one of the strongest players on every team he played for – immediately jumped into the coaching profession after retiring from his playing career. He served as assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Denver Broncos from 2001 until 2007 when he became a strength and conditioning coach with the Kansas City Chiefs.
After three years with the Chiefs, Smith was hired as the head strength and conditioning coach by the Houston Texans, where he served until 2014. During his time with the Texans, Smith was selected as the Strength Coach of the Year by his peers but a regime change with the Texans meant all of the team’s staff was fired.
Smith then became strength and conditioning coach at Perry High School in Arizona until returning to the NFL in 2017 as the assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Broncos once again. Smith remained with the Broncos until being hired as the head assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Dallas Cowboys in February.
Smith has previously credited his formative years in Enterprise as the reason for his success.
“I’m a product of my environment in Enterprise and all that it entails from my childhood, my church, my family and my friends,” Smith said. “Every aspect of my life was molded by Enterprise. Every coach and every teacher that encouraged me and held me accountable along the way molded me.
“I’m a direct product of Enterprise and it feels really good to represent such a great town and city and I feel like I have the ability to represent them well at this point in my life. (Bacon) meant everything to me. There isn’t a single day that goes by – and I’m pretty sure most of the guys that I played with would agree – that I don’t think of something or handle some situation in some way that is affected by Coach Bacon and the way he taught us and held us accountable.”