Some of my first experiences with Georgia football at Sanford Stadium as a young lad were watching No. 14 Terry Hoage confound opposing quarterbacks and receivers as he shut down the airspace on his side of the field as skillfully an ace fighter pilot, and so, it is only appropriate that he brings on in at 14 days to go on Bulldawg Illustrated’s Countdown to Kickoff 2016.
The two-time consensus All-American defensive back played at rover and safety for the University of Georgia from 1980 to 1983 for Head Coach Vince Dooley. He was part of three SEC Championship teams as well as the heralded 1980 National Championship Bulldawgs. But just how good was Terry Hoage?
“The best defensive player I’ve ever coached and maybe the best one I’ve ever seen,” Vince Dooley.
He is tied with three other Bulldawgs for nabbing three interceptions in one game, which he did against Vanderbilt his junior season in 1982. Hoage holds not only the all-time school record for interceptions in one season with 12 from 1982, but it is still the all-time conference record in the SEC. His 14 career interceptions are tied for 3rd all-time in school history with Jeff Hipp. He also holds the all-time school record at for blocked field goals with 4, three of which came during his senior season in 1983. One of those four blocked field goals was in the Sugar Bowl vs No. 7 Notre Dame during that magical 1980 season. Add to those head-turning, eye-popping stats, 223 total tackles and 10 QB sacks over his 4 years at Georgia.
After his collegiate football career, he was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft in 1984 by the New Orleans Saints. He would go on to play 13 years in the NFL for six different team in over 141 regular season games and 5 playoff games. He had at least 23 interceptions, recovered 12 fumbles, 7 QB sacks and 536 tackles as a Pro per team records.
Hoage was equally gifted in the classroom, earning two Academic All-American honors as well as a bachelor degree in genetics from the University of Georgia. He was inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame in 1997 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000 as well as the UGA Circle of Honor in 2001. In 2004, he was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic Hall of Fame, and several years later, in 2009, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
And what about life after football for the 1984 SEC Athlete of the Year and one of the all-time greats at defensive back for the Bulldawgs?
For Terry Hoage and his wife Jennifer, it involves grapes, oak barrels, and patience. Back in 2002, Terry and Jennifer moved their family out to California and purchased a vineyard in Paso Robles to begin the endeavor of developing and producing TH Estate Wines. And for the last 14 years, they have successfully done so, producing award-winning vintages.
And the countdown continues. Go Dawgs!