All UGA fans need to know the original ‘Wild Dawg’

For Georgia fans of my generation, the announcement that Jake Scott is being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame elicits a response along the lines of “About time!”

But my son pointed out to me that for many younger fans, Scott is just a name they hear the old folks talking about. Even his fame with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and as a Super Bowl MVP is distant history. And that’s a shame.

Part of that may be because the maverick Scott, who lives in Hawaii, has kept a determinedly low profile for years. Although he’s been a frequent social visitor to Atlanta and Athens over the years and has maintained steadfast friendships with former Dawgs teammates, Scott has never been part of the coterie of former UGA stars trotted out for charity events and banquets and media appearances — by his choice.

Scott fell out with Vince Dooley over the coach’s decision to send the 1968 SEC champions to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans rather than the team’s choice of the Orange Bowl in Miami, where the Dogs could have gone. The team ended up making a lousy showing in a 16-2 bowl loss to Arkansas, with tales of the hellraising they did in the Big Easy quickly making their way back to Athens. The rift with Dooley led Scott to leave UGA and play pro ball in Canada since juniors weren’t eligible to sign with the NFL in those days.

Dooley, who’s always praised Scott as the “most gifted all-around athlete” he ever coached, says they’ve mended their relationship in recent years, but it wasn’t until Vince was no longer athletic director that Scott made a public appearance at Sanford Stadium in 2006.

The famously prickly Scott didn’t get along with Dolphins coach Don Shula, either, so that shouldn’t be taken as a knock on Dooley.

But despite his bolting early from UGA, Jacob E. Scott III has always maintained a hold on those fans who were around during his playing days because he was such a superb, heady athlete and played with such reckless abandon both on the field and off. You have probably heard about him riding a motorcycle over the top of Stegeman Coliseum — let’s call him the original “Wild Dawg.”

Scott always went his own way. Although born in South Carolina, he grew up mostly in Athens and at age 12 played on Cobern Kelley’s Athens YMCA team that won the Pop Warner Little League national championship. Before he could become a star at Athens High his mom took a job in Washington and so he played his high school ball first in Virginia and then at a prep school in Maryland after he got kicked out of his Virginia school for, he said, spending too much time playing pool.

So the wild streak was evident early on. After he returned to Athens to play for UGA, Scott, who was known in Athens for his love of partying, sat out a quarter during his freshman year after becoming academically ineligible. Then he turned around the next year and earned all-SEC academic honors because it suited him to prove he could.

He played the game like a wild man, too. Whether returning a punt or snagging an interception — both of which he excelled at — it was thrilling to see the gambling free safety Scott twisting and turning, breaking tackles, as he snaked his way through the opposing players and then shot down the field. He led the SEC in punt returns and punt return yardage, holds the conference record for most interception touchdowns in a single game (two) and still holds the school record for career interceptions and return yards with 16 for 315 yards. Incredibly, he did all that in just two seasons, since freshmen didn’t play on the varsity in those days.

Jake Scott is never likely to be signing autographs at the UGA Bookstore or pressing the flesh with fans at Countdown to Kickoff, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that he is truly a Bulldog football legend. Dooley tried to get Scott named to the College Hall of Fame once before but the drive faltered when Scott made it clear he didn’t care about the honor and probably wouldn’t show up. Whether he shows up or not this time, the hall has decided to go ahead and honor him.

I hope he does show up this time, though, because he deserves to spend a little more time in the spotlight. And all UGA fans need to know about “Jake the Snake.”

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

78 comments Add your comment

DawginLex

May 18th, 2011
10:56 am

DGD. wish we had more like him now.

lastgrad

May 18th, 2011
11:00 am

Jake, Y boy and Bulldawg, the best ever. Oh yeah very good fish too.

DDPO

May 18th, 2011
11:02 am

DawginLex… I would say most of the team likes to party. The difference is that he was smart enough not to get caught/arrested.

Go Dawgs

May 18th, 2011
11:03 am

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 18th, 2011
11:13 am

Just knew of Scott from the SB MVP lore, not many storys of his time at UGA as I am to young, but the article from ‘06 that was posted yesterday and above really made me respect the maverick lifestyle he set out for himself. He has a little Jimmy Buffet in him and who cannot respect living a carefree life and not giving a rats arse about what anyone thinks about it. Hats off to Mr. Scott.

SSIgator

May 18th, 2011
11:51 am

“All UGA fans need to know the original ‘Wild Dawg’

Now the only “Wild Dawgs” in Athens are the UGA players that frequent the 2 for 1 bars, trash the hospital and keep the attorneys and bail bondmen employed. Yet, the KoolAid machine keeps humming along. What a shame.

Ca dawg

May 18th, 2011
12:05 pm

SSI: you still at that? A gator fan talking about player misbehavior? Wow. Just… Wow.

savannahdawg

May 18th, 2011
12:33 pm

Love Jake Scott!! One of my favorite Dawgs and Dolphin! Watched him play as a kid living in Maimi. The man was awesome!!! Congrats Jake! Quit your hiding……….come on down to Savannah……….drinks are on me!!

Go Dawgs!

May 18th, 2011
12:42 pm

SSIgator

May 18th, 2011
11:51 am
“All UGA fans need to know the original ‘Wild Dawg’

Now the only “Wild Dawgs” in Athens are the UGA players that frequent the 2 for 1 bars, trash the hospital and keep the attorneys and bail bondmen employed. Yet, the KoolAid machine keeps humming along. What a shame.

Unlike the choir boys in gainesville, fl who shoot ak-47s out of apt windows, steal AND use credit cards of roommate’s dead girlfriends, steal laptops and then throw them out the window, shatter the face of a fellow student in a bar room brawl, sit in parking lots at 2am smoking weed, text death threats to girlfriends who they are physically abusing, drive drunk with two bottles of whiskey, try to gouge out the eyes of opponents, but you’re right the things going on in Athens, Ga are the real shame.

Stones and glass houses my friend.

Dawg 39

May 18th, 2011
12:49 pm

GO: “GO DAWGS”!.

Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

May 18th, 2011
1:08 pm

Jake is one DGD!

Everyone needs to follow Go Dawgs’ link at 11:03 am, above. It’s a great story.

Too bad Lewis Grizzard isn’t still around to write Scott’s life story. It would be a hoot!

Randall Pettit

May 18th, 2011
1:14 pm

Thanks for writing about Jake Scott. I was a freshman living in Russell Hall when he got kicked out of the jock dorm and spent time living in Russell. He almost ran me over one day and then apologized. He was the best UGA player I saw in my four years. You forgot to mention that he was the SEC Player of the Year.

Destin Dawg

May 18th, 2011
1:28 pm

Gators are endangered species this year….

You can't hold me back

May 18th, 2011
1:35 pm

Give me a break!!! If this was a BLACK kid with the same pedigree you would be calling him a THUG and crying for him to be kicked off the team. But since he is coming from the good old days of all white teams he is all Glory Glory!!!!!
The mind set of white people as a whole Never ceases to amaze me as they can never see the actions of others through the same prism that they judge their own.

CJJScout

May 18th, 2011
1:49 pm

@You can’t hold me back: Seriously? Seriously?!

Herschel Talker

May 18th, 2011
1:58 pm

Jake Scott was a DGD. To think where our program would be if Coach Mr. Magoo could bring in studs like Jake. Instead we have a bunch of houligans and clowns.

FIRE MARK RICHT

59bulldawg

May 18th, 2011
2:17 pm

Coburn Kelley! Now that’s a name from the past. I was one of Kelley’s kids back in the mid-60s when the Y was downtown on Broad. Great man!

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2011
3:42 pm

Why is that such a shame SSI?

258DAWG

May 18th, 2011
3:49 pm

SSI is just trying to figure out which of his players will fail the drug test at the end of this season..
He’s going for 5 in a row!
I wonder what last years recruiting class would be ranked now??? top 25?

fan

May 18th, 2011
4:00 pm

Herschel talker,

You are such a little b!tch. All you do is complain. Turn in your Georgia fan card cause the rest of the bulldawg nation is tired of your azz. MR is our coach and if he brings the dawgs back to glory then I cannot to laugh in your face.

old fan

May 18th, 2011
4:09 pm

I even liked Jake back in the day.

Class of '98

May 18th, 2011
4:14 pm

“for many younger fans, Scott is just a name they hear the old folks talking about”

You’re right. I’m 36 and don’t honestly know if Jake Scott is white or black.

aaron in arizona

May 18th, 2011
4:23 pm

“You can’t hold me back”, what in the world are you talking about? Where are you coming from w/such a statement? I really am curious. Unless you are just trying to get a rise out of people.

Growing up a bulldog fan, I remember reading about Scott in the annual football media guide, seeing his picture and looking at his name in some of the records he held. other than that, I agree the younger fans of the Dawgs or college football would probably not even recognize his name. but guess that’s how Scott would like it, according to the above referenced article. Go Dawgs.

Great Scott!

May 18th, 2011
4:33 pm

And Jake Scott never passed a single college course while he was in Athens. That’s been well documented.

Remedial studies don’t count.

Rocky V

May 18th, 2011
4:34 pm

Instead we have a bunch of houligans and clowns.

Don’t leave out the felons, thugs, goons, and punks. They deserve to be mentioned too. :-)

@You can't hold me back

May 18th, 2011
4:41 pm

Sport, the only person holding YOU back is YOU. Productive people aren’t out there scheming about how to hold other people back. But you may not be familiar with “productive”.

Bob

May 18th, 2011
5:34 pm

Congratulations Jake!!! And thanks for helping me pass Finite Math at UGA in 1966 (thanks also to our teacher for grading on the curve). BTW, there are some old telephone operators that would like to get in touch with you…

Sam

May 18th, 2011
5:50 pm

Dear “Great Scott” either you or Bill King is in error. You say he never passed a course; King says he as academic All-SEC.

Did they have remedial courses in the 60s?

Top Row Dawg

May 18th, 2011
5:58 pm

So they put those steel gates on the Stegman arches to keep folks from riding motorcycles over the top. Looks like Penn State was #2 and it would have helped Ga. move up from #4 to beat them in Orange Bowl. Of course they vioted the final poll before the bowl games back then. Spending New Years on Bourbon Street instead of South Beach. Man, thats a toss up, not worth quitting team and having 30 year feud over.

Innocent Bystander

May 18th, 2011
6:44 pm

Of course Jake did pass courses. He was a fine student when he wanted to be. I think his mom was a psychiatrist.

BornADawg

May 18th, 2011
7:15 pm

@59bulldawg…Yes, I was born and raised in Athens and was a Bullpup for the YMCA when Coburn Kelley was there. I was two years younger than Jake Scott. As kids we all just knew him as Kelley. I can still smell the smells of the old locker rooms, the old wooden winding staircase from donstairs to the main street level, the small track above the basketball court, playing in Sanford Stadium some Saturday’s from the fifty yard line, back when Sanford Stadium was only about a 35,000 seat stadium. Kelley has been a guiding influence on me my whole life. He was indeed a great man and I have thought of him often over the years.

BornADawg

May 18th, 2011
7:19 pm

dawgman

May 18th, 2011
8:31 pm

@ you can’t hold me back. You should practice what you preach. That door swings both ways my man.

JB

May 18th, 2011
9:21 pm

show some Scott game film to this “hit man” Jakar guy playing for us. Over hyped and over sold. The guy is a bust. Who is Scouting for us?

Me again

May 18th, 2011
9:41 pm

Let’s see kicked out of school, dispute with two head coaches, academically ineligible, rode a motor cycle on a school building, ( did he have a license?)
You can’t tell me that if one of the kids on the team today did that that the masses would not be calling for his head!!
And they would label him a thug and blame it on his shoddy upbringing from a poor black family and he was wasting his scholarship.
My point is call a spade a spade , He did much worse things than half the kids you call thugs.

Inlet Dawg

May 18th, 2011
10:09 pm

My father was a little ahead of Jake at UGA but he went to his grave telling me he was the best player to ever put on a Bulldawg uniform,glad he his getting in even if he don’t care about it.

john

May 18th, 2011
10:56 pm

Do any old timers remeber if Jake had a 95 yard interception td called back against Florida in 1967?

sports

May 19th, 2011
12:43 am

tough guy-good player

7576DAWG

May 19th, 2011
2:02 am

That is the reason I have never really cared for Vince Dooley . In 1968 it made no sense for Georgia to accept the Sugar Bowl over the Orange Bowl. The only reason he went to the Sugar Bowl is because he was tight with the Sugar Bowl people and he knew they would owe him for bring his team to New Orleans. I applauded Jake Scott back then and I do now for the integrity he showed about saying his was not for sale, unlike Dooley. Jake Scott may have been the ultimate BAD BOY but when he played football he gave 120% the entire game .

hop

May 19th, 2011
3:40 am

jake was a very smart guy who was able to attend a class one time and return for exams and ACE the course.

He used to drive Dooley crazy as he would party hard and destroy many bar in athens!

Jake was a very good pro player with the Miami . He and Bill Stanfil won several super bowls back in the 70’s.

he and tarkenton were my two favorite Dogs.

Alabamadawg

May 19th, 2011
3:48 am

Great article, Bill. Thanks.

Big Dawg

May 19th, 2011
6:53 am

I have never met the man, but I heard the stories and I remember the stern talking to we got from the coaches upon arrival in Athens as freshmen. The legendary Jake Scott yes he was a great player and yes probably one of the best to ever play the game as he made it look so easy. I know Coach Russell spoke very fondly of Jake on occasion, but I don’t ever remember Coach Dooley ever speaking directly about him. Anyway this honor is way past due to a great football player with great talent who seemed to play as a man possessed on the field.

Go Dawgs

Big Dawg

May 19th, 2011
6:58 am

Jake Scott is the greatest all-round athlete ever to play for the Dawgs. Always did it his way, lived life to the beat of his own drum. Well deserved Jake, and thanks for all the great memories, on and off the field. Wish Lewis Grizzard were around this morning to give us his take!

pete van weird

May 19th, 2011
7:36 am

….I saw Andy Johnson playing high school baseball in Macon, GA against our team. He hit a ball that was still rising when it hit the light pole, at a little over 250 feet from home plate….our coach? Billy Henderson……saw Steve Greer beat the hell out of more than a couple of GATECH players when he had no business whipping them so bad due to his size, on the goal line, in their stadium, as a freshman. The thing to understand about Georgia athletics is, you rise to the occasion, and then above it. Jake Scott, Big Bill Stanfill, the list goes on and on. They understood this. Go Dogs.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 19th, 2011
7:39 am

You negative bloggers that made stupid remarks about this man, are really just quite envious. You wish you could have done in your life, exactly what you wanted to do and then be able to live like he now lives.
The hate and stupidity of some of you negative folks truly amazes me. Bet you would have the guts to say it right to his face as well. Hiding behind computer keyboard is a pitiful excuse, as a substitute for being a man.

radly dawg

May 19th, 2011
7:58 am

Hey Class of 98…there were noblacks playing in the SEC back then.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 19th, 2011
8:19 am

Rally DAWG,

Not ture. The first black football player played at Kentucy in 1967 against Mississippi. Jake was an all SEC in 1967, and had 10 interceptions that year.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 19th, 2011
8:21 am

make that true, not ture. come on caffeine, sink in, LOL.

Three hots and a cot

May 19th, 2011
8:35 am

The Athens-Clarke County jail has three hots and a cot waiting for Isaiah Crowell.

Whisky Breath

May 19th, 2011
8:47 am

Not a Ga guy Bill, but the dawgs don’t realize what they have in you. No agenda, just the facts. I wish we had a guy like you on our side.