76: Jeff Sanchez, Safety #31 (1982, 1984)
While the majority of Georgia players are recruited out of high school, every so often there is a player who becomes a star in Athens after beginning their football career in junior college. In 2010, Georgia hopes that Jakar Hamilton can repeat the success of another junior college transfer safety, Jeff Sanchez. After being named to the Junior College All-American team in 1980 and 1981 at Fullerton, Sanchez paired with Georgia great Terry Hoage to become one of the best 1-2 punches at safety the SEC has ever seen. The duo would finish 1-2 in the NCAA in interceptions that season (12 for Hoage, 9 for Sanchez). In the game that secured Georgia’s third consecutive SEC Championship, Sanchez broke up the final Auburn pass attempt and prompted one of Larry Munson’s signature calls:
For the 1982 season, he finished with 9 interceptions and 98 tackles and was named first team All-SEC.
An injury forced Sanchez to miss the entire 1983 season. As a redshirt senior in 1984, he continued to build on the success he started in 1982. He led the team in interceptions with four and finished third on the team in tackles. He was once again elected as a member of the All-SEC team and was named to the All-American team.
Despite playing only two seasons at Georgia, Sanchez is near the top of a number of key statistical categories. His tally of 9 interceptions in 1982 is the fourth best total in a single season in school history. His 13 career interceptions is tied for third. Just imagine if he could have played all four seasons in Athens.