Feb. 23, 2014
Macon -- Former University of Georgia All-America defensive back Scott Woerner was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night in Macon at the organizations annual induction banquet held at the City Auditorium.
Woerner came to Georgia as an accomplished quarterback, but by the time his career had ended, he had become a first team All-America defensive back and the country's top punt returner.
Born in Baytown, Texas, he spent his high school career as a three-year letterman at quarterback and defensive back at Jonesboro (Ga.) High School. He also lettered in track, basketball, and wrestling but came to Georgia in the fall of 1977 as state's number one college prospect
He wasted no time in letting the coaches know he had a knack for returning punts and kickoffs. As a freshman, he returned 22 kickoffs for 546 yards which still ranks third in the Georgia record book; and in the game against Kentucky returned six kickoffs for 190 yards--a single game record that still stands.
Meanwhile, he began working his way up as a defensive back earning a staring job by his sophomore season when he intercepted four passes. He also finished second in the SEC in punt returns with 277 yards and one TD on 22 returns. Four more interceptions came his way as a junior and he again finished second in the SEC in punt returns which which all primed him for a stellar senior season.
In 1980, he almost singlehandedly led Georgia to victory over Clemson in a hard-fought 20-16 win in Sanford Stadium. Sports Illustrated named his as the nation's Defensive Player of the Week following his performance which included a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown in the game's early minutes. He followed later in the first half with a 98-yard interception return to the Clemson two-yard-line which stopped a Tiger scoring threat and also set up a Buck Belue 1-yard run giving the Bulldogs a 14-10 halftime lead.
By season's end, Woerner had intercepted five passes and made 47 tackles in helping lead Georgia to an undefeated, untied season and the consensus 1980 national championship. In the Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame, Woerner capped his career with a key end zone breakup and an interception to seal the victory.
Woerner still ranks as one of Georgia's most prolific defensive backs and return specialists. A consensus All-America and All-SEC selection in 1980, Woerner led the nation that season in punt return average at 15.7 yards. That year, Woerner was the only defensive player to be listed in the top 10 in all-purpose yardage among SEC players.
For his career, Woerner recorded 147 tackles and 13 interceptions. He also rolled up a school-record 1,077 punt return yards, averaging 12.2 yards per return and scoring two touchdowns. Despite the 22 years that have passed, he still holds the Georgia single season record for most punt return yards, average punt return yards, and total kick return yards as well as the Bulldog career records for punt return yards, total kick returns, and total kick return yards.
Woerner was drafted in the fourth round by the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. He also played with the USFL's Philadelphia Stars and was First-Team All-USFL at safety. He was inducted into the UGA Athletic Association Circle of Honor in 2003.