Georgia head coach Kirby Smart revealed during the team’s arrival press conference that senior defensive back Deandre Baker has elected to skip the Sugar Bowl. The Jim Thorpe Award winner joins a growing list of players nationwide who have opted out of bowl game rather than risk injury in advance of the NFL draft.
Here is what Kirby Smart had to say about Baker at Thrusday’s presser in New Orleand:
“Deandre Baker is not going to play in this game. He has decided not to play in the game. That was a decision that he came to somewhere around midweek. But he was very honest about it. He was very concerned about it.
“And we at the University of Georgia support him in his decision. It’s a tough decision when you look at it. And he was forced to make it. He probably spoke prematurely when he was at the Thorpe Award. I think it was on his mind. But he met with his family about it. It was really important to him that he stay with the team. We support him as a coaching staff to stay around the team, be around the team. He wanted to come on this trip to help those other players, help the other corners. So it was a decision that he had to make.
“Look, across the country, there are a lot of guys that made that decision. And it really weighed heavy on that kid. He came to us and told us. And I told him we would support him, and he’s here with us. He’s part of our family. He came back after having a pretty good grade as a junior and decided to play, and he helped get us to this point. But he’s not going to play in the game.”