ATHENS — Georgia sacks leader D’Andre Walker has pulled out of the Senior Bowl, not yet ready to compete on account of what has become a nagging groin injury.
Walker has been projected as a third-round NFL Draft pick, but the Senior Bowl offered him an opportunity to improve his draft stock competing against top talent in the annual all-star event.
The Bulldogs will be represented by defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter and long snapper Nick Moore.
Practices and drills begin on Tuesday before the watchful eyes of hundreds of NFL coaches, scouts and general managers.
Unfortunately, I won’t be attending the Senior Bowl. I will be getting a second opinion on my groin this week to ensure I’ll be ready for the combine. I am very disappointed because it’s such a great opportunity to showcase my talent.
— D’Andre Walker (@DAndreWalker15) January 21, 2019
Walker was injured early in the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship Game against Alabama with Georgia leading 28-21.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound senior from Fairburn, Ga., was enjoying an MVP performance against the Tide before suffering the injury.
Walker had five tackles, two TFLs, two QB hurries a forced fumble and a deflected pass in three quarters, wreaking havoc in the Alabama backfield.
Georgia’s backup outside linebackers weren’t able to have the same sort of success. The Bulldogs young outside linebackers lost contain on crucial plays and allowed Jalen Hurts to buy time and make game-winning plays in Alabama’s 35-28 win.
Walker practiced on a limited basis and dressed out for the Sugar Bowl, but he declined to play, likely concerned he would aggravate the groin injury.
Bulldogs’ cornerback Deandre Baker, a projected first-round NFL Draft pick, also had an invitation to test himself against the nation’s best in the Senior Bowl.
Baker, however, declined his invitation to play in the Senior Bowl.
Baker also skipped the Sugar Bowl, which, coupled with injuries to Walker and Freshman All-American defensive tackle Jordan Davis, severely hampered the Georgia defense in the 28-21 loss to Texas.