Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back this season, will sit out the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Texas and is expected to begin preparing for the NFL draft.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart told reporters about Baker's situation Thursday after the team arrived at New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Airport. Baker said after the SEC championship game that he planned to play in Georgia's bowl game but since changed his mind. ESPN's Mel Kiper ranks Baker at No. 11 on his latest Big Board for the 2019 NFL draft. Baker is Kiper's No. 2 draft-eligible cornerback, behind LSU's Greedy Williams, who also elected to skip a New Year's Day bowl to begin draft preparations.
Baker recorded 40 tackles, two interceptions, 10 pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season. True freshman Tyson Campbell, who started 10 games this season opposite Baker, likely will start at cornerback alongside redshirt freshman Eric Stokes against Texas. Campbell has 43 tackles, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries this season.
Baker traveled with Georgia to New Orleans and is expected to address the media on Saturday.