LOS ANGELES — Georgia junior cornerback Deandre Baker will think about putting his name in the NFL draft after seeking more information after the season is finished.
“I haven’t thought about it. I haven’t thought about the process yet,” Baker said. “I’ll do it after the season.”
Baker said he hasn’t yet sought information from the NFL, indicating he would eventually. He also said he would speak to his coaches after the season.
“I need something accurate,” Baker said.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare is Jan. 15, a week after the National Championship Game, which Georgia will play in if it beats Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl on Monday.
Baker has been Georgia’s most consistent cornerback this season, starting all but one game. He was named to the coaches All-SEC second team. He has 2 interceptions and 39 tackles this season. Last year, Baker ascended to a starting role midway through the season, starting the final seven games.
“Bake has done a good job,” said Mel Tucker, Georgia’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach. “He does a good job playing the ball down the field. He’s a long guy that competes. He’s good in press. He’s a high-percentage tackler. I really like that he has poise over his back to the ball, which is a good trait to have as a defensive back. Because a lot of times you’re going to be in a defeated position, but still, if you’re confident and you have poise, you can still find a way to make the play. I think he does a good job of doing that down the field.”
Two Georgia defensive starters who are draft eligible, defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter and safety J.R. Reed, said Friday they will return in 2018.
Another junior, defensive tackle Trenton Thompson, indicated in a social media post earlier in December that he also would return in 2018. Thompson was not at the Rose Bowl media day event on Saturday.
Star inside linebacker Roquan Smith, a junior, has continued to not reveal any plans, if he’s made any. Smith, the Butkus Award winner, is expected to be a first-round candidate if he declares.
Georgia has three starting seniors in the secondary: safety Dominick Sanders, nickelback Aaron Davis and cornerback Malkom Parrish. Sanders and Davis have been four-year starters, and Parrish started throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons before injuries and competition relegated him to starting about half of the games in 2017.
Even if Baker leaves, meaning Reed would be the only full-time returning starter, the Bulldogs will have Tyrique McGhee, who has started several games as a sophomore this year, safety Richard LeCounte, who has played off the bench as a freshman, and several other highly recruited young players.
Baker said his main focus is on the Rose Bowl and the matchup with Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma’s great offense.
“A great quarterback versus a great defense. So it’ll be a good ball game,” Baker said.