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Georgia star CB Deandre Baker sitting out Sugar Bowl

Sam Cooper
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Georgia will be without one of its best players in the Sugar Bowl.

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart told reporters Thursday that cornerback Deandre Baker has decided not to play on Tuesday against Texas in New Orleans. Baker, the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award winner, is considered a potential first-round draft pick.

Smart did not explicitly say why Baker won’t play, but hinted that his decision falls in line with many other draft prospects who don’t want to risk injury ahead of the pre-draft process.

“Across the country you’ve got players making that decision and it really weighed heavy on that kid,” Smart said per UGASports.com. “He came and told us and we said we would support him.”

Baker, a senior, has 34 starts under his belt at Georgia. In addition to becoming the first Georgia player to win the Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, Baker was an All-American who totaled 40 tackles, two interceptions and 12 passes defended.

With Baker out of the lineup, Georgia will likely move freshman Tyson Campbell back into the starting lineup. Campbell has started 10 of UGA’s 13 games. In the Sugar Bowl, the Georgia secondary will have to deal with Texas receivers Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson. The two have combined for 144 receptions for 2,054 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Georgia fell to the Sugar Bowl after blowing a lead against Alabama in the SEC title game. If Georgia had defeated the Tide, it would likely have earned a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Georgia’s Deandre Baker poses with the trophy after winning the Jim Thorpe Award as top defensive back in college football Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP)
Georgia’s Deandre Baker poses with the trophy after winning the Jim Thorpe Award as top defensive back in college football Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP)

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