In 1958, Zeke Smith won the Outland Trophy given to the nation's top lineman and was selected as an All-America guard. He was the ringleader of a Tiger defense that held Tennessee to minus-33 yards offense and no first downs. Smith was named All-SEC later that year. Bobby Dodd, then Georgia head coach, called Smith and Kentucky lineman Lou Michaels "the greatest lineman in the SEC in the past 10 years." After leaving Auburn, Smith played professional football for the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants. Since 1977, Auburn has presented the Zeke Smith Award to the team's defensive Player of the Year.