Georgia defensive back Deandre Baker says he will play in Sugar Bowl

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Deandre Baker was Georgia's best player in 2018.

A popular trend among projected top NFL draft picks these days is for them to forgo their team’s bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft. But Georgia senior cornerback Deandre Baker is going against that trend, as he announced that he does intend to play in the Sugar Bowl against Texas. Baker announced the news at the College Football Playoff awards.

Baker added that the SEC championship game loss played a part in the decision, and that he wanted to end his Georgia career with a win. Baker is a finalist for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive back. LSU cornerback Greedy Williams, who is also a top NFL draft prospect and Thorpe Award finalist, will skip LSU’s game against Central Florida.

Baker was Georgia’s lone representative on the AP’s All-SEC First Team. The senior cornerback finished the season with two interceptions while also consistently locking up some of the best receivers in the conference.

As for his NFL draft projections, ESPN’s Todd McShay spoke very highly over Baker on Wednesday, saying he could possibly even be the top cornerback taken in the upcoming NFL draft.

“Greedy Williams is the most talented — he’s No. 2 overall on my board — but the guy I think a lot of people are sleeping on is Georgia’s Deandre Baker. This dude is one of the more instinctive corners I’ve evaluated in years, and he is so tough for his size,” McShay said. “Those are often the most overlooked traits when looking at corners. Again, Williams is ranked a little higher, but I’m betting on Baker to become a really good NFL starter.”

If Baker is taken in the first round, it would be the second season in a row that a Georgia defender has gone in the first round, as Roquan Smith was drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

Baker’s final game with Georgia will take place on Jan. 1, as the Bulldogs take on the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl. The game will be played in New Orleans. The winner of the Thorpe Award will be announced on Thursday night at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

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