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Deandre Baker has been one of the nation's best defensive backs this season.

Deandre Baker named a finalist for Jim Thorpe Award

Around the Dawg House will bring you daily updates from what people and publications are saying about Georgia,  from inside and outside of Athens.

Deandre Baker a finalist for best defensive back award

Georgia senior cornerback Deandre Baker has been one of the nation’s best defensive backs this season. He’s done an incredibly effective job of locking down his side of the field, and is a big reason Georgia has one of the best pass defenses in the country.

On Wednesday, Baker was recognized for his outstanding season as he was named one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given out to college football’s top defensive back. The other two finalists for the award were LSU defensive back Greedy Williams and Notre Dame’s Julian Love. The winner of the award will be announced on Dec. 6 at ESPN’s Home Depot College Football Awards Show, which will be held at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

On the season, Baker has 2 interceptions and 27 tackles, along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. His counting stats would likely be much higher if teams targeted him more often in pass coverage. He’s limited a number of the SEC’s best receivers including South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, Missouri’s Emmanuel Hall and Vanderbilt’s Kalija Lipscomb.

Baker likely won’t be tested this weekend against Georgia Tech and its triple option. But if the Bulldogs are going to beat No. 1 Alabama in the SEC championship game on Dec. 1, the senior defensive back will likely play a very big role.

ESPN ranks UGA-Georgia Tech game in terms of playoff importance

There are a number of games that are critically important to the College Football Playoff. There No. 4 Michigan visiting No. 10 Ohio State. There’s No. 3 Notre Dame playing its last game of the season against USC. And there’s the Iron Bowl between No. 1 Alabama taking on Auburn.

ESPN’s Heather Dinich ranked the big rivalry games this weekend, and had the Georgia-Georgia Tech game ranked No. 6. Georgia winning won’t do much for its College Football Playoff chances a loss would make things very interesting for the Bulldogs and for Alabama.

“If Georgia loses to Georgia Tech, but beats Alabama to win the SEC title, it could become the first two-loss team to finish in the top four in the playoff era,” Dinich said. “Or … the SEC could be left out in favor of Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan and Oklahoma. A Georgia Tech win would also entirely change the perception of an Alabama loss to Georgia in the SEC championship, decreasing the chances that the Tide sneak in as the SEC runner-up.”

The Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets kickoff at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will broadcast on SEC Network and on the radio on WSB 750 AM/95.5 FM. Georgia has not beaten Georgia Tech at home since 2012, as the Bulldogs have lost the last two times in Athens.

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