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Baker to pass on Sugar Bowl

Next year arrives early for young DBs primed to step up

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Georgia
Deandre Baker, who after the SEC Championship said he would play in the Sugar Bowl, has had a change of heart and will skip the bowl game.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The excitement from Deandre Baker a week or two ago about his plans to play in the Sugar Bowl ended up being a bit premature.

As the team arrived in New Orleans on Thursday to prepare for the Sugar Bowl, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart announced that Baker will not play for the Bulldogs in the bowl game, after all. Baker, whose career in Athens ends as one of the program’s best defensive backs in school history, actually practiced with the team until it broke for the holidays on Dec. 20, so one can gather that this decision came after time with his family during the break.

It’s worth noting that Georgia as a program, from statements today by Smart and the fact that Baker is with the team during the bowl, supports his decision publicly, and it speaks volumes about how Baker feels about his Georgia teammates, even if he won’t be on the field with them one final time on Jan. 1.

“It was really important to him to stay with the team, we support him as a coaching staff to stay around the team, be around the team,” Smart told “He wanted to come on this trip and help those other players, the young corners.”

Yes, about those younger corners...

This game was already a tone-setter for next year given Georgia just missing the Playoff after losing the likes of Chubb, Michel and Roquan Smith.

Now, a defensive backfield that’ll also have a new position coach next year, will take its turn replacing a top of the line player next season. Eric Stokes, Tyrique McGhee and Tyson Campbell will have an even bigger spotlight on them as the game against Texas for all intents shakes up to be the start of jockeying for 2019 when it comes to Georgia’s DBs as well.

Go Dawgs!