Monday, June 21, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 75 Days to Go

75: Jeff Hipp, Safety #49 (1978 – 1980)

While all Georgia fans know the names of Walker, Woerner, and Scott, another key contributor to the 1980 National Championship team was safety Jeff Hipp. Originally from West Columbia, South Carolina, Hipp chose to play for Vince Dooley as opposed to staying home and playing for the Gamecocks. The 6’3’’, 190 pounder was a force from his safety position. After earning a starting role in 1979, he made two big plays that helped lead Georgia to a victory over LSU. He had an interception which led to the go ahead touchdown and sealed the victory when he caused a fumble by LSU running back LeRoid Jones. Georgia would hang on to win, 21-14. A few weeks later, Hipp would leave his mark on the rivalry with Georgia Tech. He recorded 3 interceptions in a defensive struggle and the Dawgs went on to a 16-3 victory.

In the first game of the 1980 season, Hipp played a key role in Georgia’s come from behind victory at Tennessee. Following the Herschel Walker touchdown (yes, the one where he ran over Bates), Hipp recovered a fumble that set Georgia up at the Vols’ 37. Georgia would eventually score to take the lead and win the game. Two games later, against Clemson, he made a game securing interception on a tipped pass by teammate Frank Ros:

Jeff Hipp would lead the nation in interceptions with 8 that fall. He also tallied 83 tackles and was named to the All-SEC first team. For his career, he ranks second all-time at Georgia in interceptions with 14 (for 121 return yards). He played in two collegiate all-star games (the Japan Bowl and the Hula Bowl) in 1981.

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