|Date of birth:||February 8, 1920|
|Place of birth:||Faribault, Minnesota|
|Date of death:||August 28, 1967(aged 47)|
|NFL Draft:||1942 / Round: 13 / Pick: 119|
|Green Bay Packers|
Los Angeles Rams
|Career highlights and awards|
|Awards:||1941 Heisman Trophy|
|Playing stats at|
Smith was born in Faribault, Minnesota (the football field in Faribault is now named after him), where he excelled in high school football under the coach Win Brockmeyer, and then he attended the University of Minnesota. He played halfback for the back-to-back national champion Gophers in 1940 and 1941. Smith was captain of the 1941 University of Minnesota team. He received the Heisman two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Smith earned first team All-American and All-Big Ten honors in 1941.
During World War II, he served as a United States Navy fighter pilot. After the war, he briefly played in the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers (1945–1948) and the Los Angeles Rams (1948).
The movie Smith of Minnesota was released in 1942. The premiere occurred in his home town of Faribault, Minnesota, to the amazement of the locals due to this novelty. However, laughter was heard in the movie house when certain advanced technologies, for that time (direct-dial phones, streetlights, etc.) were seen as part of the scenery—courtesy of being filmed in Hollywood, California.
He was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 1967, and he spent the next several months visiting young cancer patients with the Rev. William Cantwell. Smith lost over half his body weight before succumbing to the disease. Cantwell, who was unfamiliar with Smith's sports achievements, nominated Smith for sainthood.