Georgia Football

Top 50 UGA Players of All Time - No. 44 - Jimmy Payne

May 15, 2019

Dawg Post is counting down the Top 50 UGA players of all time through the summer. Keep checking back each weekday to see who we have next…

No. 44 - Jimmy Payne, DL from Athens

A three-time All-SEC performer, Payne led Georgia in sacks three of his four years, including the 1980 National Championship season. He combined great size and speed that allowed him to contribute as a linebacker and as a defensive tackle. Payne’s 28 career sacks and 12 single season sacks in 1981 still both rank second in the all-time Georgia record book. Payne went on to play several years for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. He died in 1998 after a long illness at the age of 38.

Many remember Georgia’s 1980 national championship because of one player. Freshman running back Herschel Walker. And while Herschel continues to be arguably the greatest college football player of all time, he wasn’t the only great Bulldog on that team. 

Defensive lineman Jimmy Payne is still remembered as one of the greatest defenders in school history, and the Athens native was another big reason why the Bulldogs won the national championship nearly four decades ago. The versatile Payne played defensive tackle, defensive end, and even some linebacker during his time in Athens.

One of the more athletic defensive lineman of his time, Payne wreaked havoc in the backfield and totaled 28 sacks during his tenure which is still tied for 3rd all-time in school history with the legendary Jarvis Jones. 

Payne’s best season came as a junior in 1981 when he recorded 12 sacks on the season. That still ranks 6th all time in school history for sacks recorded in a single season. For his career, Payne totaled 256 tackles, 28 sacks and forced 8 total fumbles. Payne played during one of the greatest runs in Bulldog history, helping Georgia win a national championship and 3 SEC championships. 

Payne was drafted in the 4th round of the 1983 draft by the Buffalo Bills.

Top 50 UGA Players of All Time:

No. 50 - Marcus Stroud

No. 49 - Bacarri Rambo

No. 48 - John Rauch

No. 47 - Pat Dye

No. 44 - Jimmy Payne

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