The 2018 Jim Thorpe Award winner resides in Athens this year, as the best defensive back in the nation was senior Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker. He took the award home over some other semifinalists that included Boyd from the Horns. Baker winning the Jim Thorpe Award didn’t come as much of a surprise, though, since he was a model of consistency all year from the cornerback spot.
In the past three years, Baker posted some big numbers for a cornerback. His numbers saw a decline in his senior campaign since opposing quarterbacks started to look away from him. The fact that Baker still managed to reel in two interception this year is pretty impressive considering the lack of times he was targeted.
Altogether, Baker racked up 40 total tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, nine pass deflections, and one forced fumble on the season. Both of his interceptions were nearly taken back for touchdowns, but he couldn’t quite reach the end zone on either return. It is going to be difficult for the Texas passing game to find its way around the threat of Baker in the Georgia defensive backfield.
Walter Football lists Baker as the top 2019 NFL Draft cornerback, and a first round prospect. That puts him ahead of Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, Washington’s Byron Murphy, and LSU’s Greedy Williams as the top corner in this class of talented NFL prospects. Baker will also get a big chance at locking down one of the two top Texas junior wide receivers in a showdown worth watching.