Georgia safeties Richard LeCounte, J.R. Reed both say they’re playing in Sugar Bowl

Richard LeCounte-2021 NFL Draft-Georgia football
Richard LeCounte had a big year for Georgia football.

Last year, Georgia defensive back Deandre Baker sat out the Bulldogs’ 28-21 defeat to the Texas Longhorns in the 2019 Sugar Bowl. Baker ended up being a first-round selection, as he was taken with the No. 30 pick by the New York Giants.

But two Georgia defensive backs on this year’s Georgia team have both stated they will be playing in the 2020 Sugar Bowl when Georgia takes on Baylor on Jan. 1 in New Orleans.

Both players played a key role in shaping Georgia’s stout defense, which finished second in the nation in points allowed per game and third in rushing defense.

Reed and LeCounte both had standout seasons for the Bulldogs. Reed was named to the First Team All-SEC in addition to being a finalist for the Thorpe Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award. He has 54 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery on the year.

LeCounte has also turned heads this year, as he finished with 59 tackles and two interceptions. LeCounte did say that he would have to think more about his NFL decision, as he is a draft-eligible junior. The Sugar Bowl will be Reed’s final game in a Georgia uniform as he is a senior.

If both are gone next season, look for freshman safety Lewis Cine to take on a much bigger role next season. Cine saw significant snaps on Saturday and figures to be a major part of Georgia’s 2020 defense.

Related: Talented freshmen safety Lewis Cine knows his time is coming soon

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said on Sunday that he would only be taking players who wanted to play in Georgia’s game against Baylor.

“What I found out last year was that for a lot of kids, it was the most important game of their season and meant so much to them, and then maybe for some others it didn’t,” Smart said. “You’ve got to take the guys that are engaged and excited about playing, because that matters a whole lot more than how good they are.”

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