Linkous was born in 1905 in Tazewell County, Virginia. His family later moved to Maryland and he was subsequently educated in Harford County at Highland High School. He graduated from high school in 1924 and attended the University of Maryland, graduating in 1928 with a BS degree in education.
While in high school, Fred began to show promise as an athlete by starring in both basketball and soccer. At the University of Maryland, Fred won his freshman numerals in football, basketball, and lacrosse. He continued on in these sports, winning three varsity letters in each, making him one of a select group of Maryland athletes who won nine letters during their varsity athletic careers.
In 1928, at the conclusion of Fred's senior year he was selected "In Home" on the official first lacrosse All-American team. He was voted the best senior athlete at the University of Maryland and a member of the "M" Club's All-Star football team, as well as guard on the All-Star Southern Conference basketball team. He was also captain of the University of Maryland basketball team.
Fred was selected a member of Omicron Delta Kappa honorary leadership fraternity and Delta Sigma Phi social fraternity. He also served as Sergeant of Arms of the junior class and the Student Assembly in his senior year. After graduation, Fred coached football and taught at Severn School in Maryland until his untimely death from a throat infection in 1930.