ATHENS -- Jake Scott, one of Georgia’s greatest players -- and characters -- of all time, died.

Scott suffered a head injury in a recent accident, according to friends. UGA confirmed reports that first surfaced out of Miami late Thursday evening that he died after several days in an Atlanta hospital. He was 75.

“Jake walked to a different drumbeat; he was his own man,” said Mike Cavan, who played quarterback for the Bulldogs while Scott was on the team. “He did things his way. But he was very successful in football, very successful in life. He was a good friend, and I miss him already.”

An All-SEC safety and kick returner for the Bulldogs, Scott gained even greater fame in the NFL. Scott was named the MVP of the Super Bowl that capped the Dolphins’ unbeaten season of 1972. Scott played nine NFL seasons, earning Pro Bowl honors five times and winning two Super Bowls with the Dolphins. He is in the Dolphins’ Hall of Honor.

Scott actually played only two seasons with the Bulldogs -- freshmen were ineligible when he enrolled in 1966 -- but they were incredibly productive. He was a dominant defensive player and kick returner during the 1967-68 seasons. He recorded 16 interceptions those two seasons, including 10 in 1968.

And he was particularly spectacular with the ball in his hands. That same year, Scott also led the SEC in punt returns and punt-return yardage and his 440 yards on 35 returns and interceptions in both set school records in ‘68. Scott still holds the SEC record for most interception touchdowns in a single game, with two vs. Kentucky in 1968.

Scott is still tied for the school record for career interceptions with 16 and second in interception return yards with 315. Scott shares that record with Bacarri Rambo (2009-12) and Dominick Sanders (2014-17). But Cavan pointed out that Scott’s came in 21 games, while the others played in 55 each.

“That’s the most astonishing thing,” Cavan said. “And we didn’t really throw much back then. Think about it!”

Former Miami Dolphins Jake Scott is honored before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 in Miami. (AP Photo/J.Pat Carter)
Former Miami Dolphins Jake Scott is honored before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 in Miami. (AP Photo/J.Pat Carter)

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Scott was one of the leaders of Georgia’s 1967 Liberty Bowl team. The Nashville Banner named him the MVP in the SEC in 1968, when he led the Bulldogs to the 1968 SEC championship. Georgia had an undefeated regular season (8-0-2) and received an invitation to the Sugar Bowl.

As the story goes, Scott was among many players who preferred that Georgia accept an Orange Bowl invitation instead. They were overruled by coach Vince Dooley and athletic director Joel Eaves, who had already brokered a deal to play in the Sugar. That infuriated Scott, and contributed to his decision to turn pro after his junior season, which was quite an unusual at the time. He chose to play in the Canadian Football League in 1969. The next year he was drafted by the Dolphins in the seventh round.

Scott was considered a recluse after his retirement. He spent much of it on the small Hanalei of on the outer edges of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde caught up with Scott there in 2006 and wrote a fascinating account of Scott’s life in the islands. But even while living in Hawaii, Scott would return to Atlanta regularly to visit his mother, Dr. Mary Scott.

“He really wasn’t the recluse everybody made him out to be,” Cavan said. “He just stayed away from people. He just did things different.”

Cavan also confirmed as fact the legendary story of Scott driving a motorcycle over the breadth of Stegeman Coliseum’s concrete parabolas while attending UGA.

“I probably can,” Cavan said of confirming the feat. “I don’t know that I want to. But, no question, it happened.”

Scott grew up in Athens but played high school ball at Washington-Lee in Arlington, Va. He was inducted into the State of Georgia Hall of Fame in 1986, the Athens Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

In Other News