California Community College
2014 Hall of Fame Inductee
Akili Smith is a former American and Canadian Football Quarterback. He emerged from Abraham Lincoln High School, in San Diego as a standout multi-sport All American rated as the 3rd QB in the nation. He followed Abraham Lincoln Alumni NFL greats Marcus Allen and Terrell Davis. Akili was drafted in Minor League Baseball by the Pittsburg Pirates out of high school, playing from 1993-1995, before returning home to San Diego to pursue his primary passion of football.
Akili attended Grossmont Community College from 1995-1996. His stellar performance at Grossmont Community College not only earned him a scholarship to the University of Oregon and First Team All American, but years later an induction to the California Community College Hall of Fame. At Oregon University, his performance has been summed up in the 2009 book “What it Means to be a Duck: Mike Belotti and Oregon’s Greatest Players” by Rob Mosley as, “ the best Offense in Oregon history....the 1998 unit quarterbacked by Akili Smith” (p. 218, Mosley).
Those who have ever watched him play described his arm strength as “rocket-like”. In 1998 while at the University of Oregon, Akili threw for a season high 3,763 yards (a record just recently surpased in 2014 by Heisman Winner Marcus Mariota) and 32 touchdowns. His performance at University of Oregon earned him Second Team All-America Honors, Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year, and a Heisman trophy candidate. The outcome of his tenure at the University of Oregon was his selection in the first round (3rd overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Akili was with the Bengals for 3 years before moving on to the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Frankfort Galaxy (NFL Europe), and Calgary Stampeders (CFL).
After retiring as a professional athlete, Akili’s passion for football led him towards coaching. His coaching began by bringing him full circle back Grossmont Community College. In 2010, Akili was able to work for his former Quarterback Coach Jeff Tedford at the University of California, Berkley. Since then Akili has coached for Bishop High School, his Alma Mata Lincoln High School, and Saint Augustine High School, where head coach Richard Sanchez regards him as “one of the most talented coaches he has ever worked with” (The San Diego Union Tribune, 2012). His first year at Saint Augustine he aided in the team reaching the CIF championship game and the second year winning the CIF Championship. This reign has proved to be the #1 offensive in Saint Augustine’s history.
Akili’s time in the NFL and CFL, empowered him with a lifetime’s worth of wisdom through experiences both high and low. These have given him the passion to share with young aspiring youth and athletes. Akili launched Akili Smith Training (AST) in 2013 and continues to be passionate about the game that is his life’s passion.