How will the absence of All-American senior cornerback Deandre Baker impact the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl on New Years Day?
By far the biggest news leading up to the Allstate Sugar Bowl yet was dropped on Dec. 27 by head coach Kirby Smart. The Georgia Bulldogs are now set to be without its best defensive back, and potentially its best player on that side of the ball entirely. Senior cornerback Deandre Baker is set to miss the Sugar Bowl, against Texas football, in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in New Orleans, LA.
There hasn’t been much reasoning as to why Baker will sit out the Sugar Bowl against the Texas Longhorns on New Years Day. We could figure that he could be missing it for preparation for the 2019 NFL Draft. There could be any number of other underlying circumstances as to why Baker is set to miss the Sugar Bowl, though.
The original news of Deandre Baker missing the Sugar Bowl was dropped on Twitter by Seth Emerson of The Athletic. Emerson did state that this decision from Deandre Baker was his own, and not made by the team. That likely means that it wasn’t due to a team rules violation, injury, or anything similar to that. All the news coming from the Clemson Tigers with the failed drug test from star defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence kept that discussion relevant of late.
Not only is this big news for the Georgia secondary, since it will be missing a Jim Thorpe Award winner (best defensive back in the nation) and a First-Team All-American, this can help the Texas passing game thrive. Matching up with junior Texas wide receivers Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey just became much more difficult for the Dawgs.
With Baker sidelined, Georgia will now have to rely on a trio of young cornerbacks to deal with this potent Texas passing game. Redshirt freshman Eric Stokes, true freshman Tyson Campbell, and sophomore Mark Webb, will be assigned the task of limiting Johnson, Humphrey, and fellow junior Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay.
Moreover, we were expecting a showdown in the Sugar Bowl between Collin Johnson and Deandre Baker that could determine some positioning for them for the 2019 NFL Draft. Johnson will still be vying to improve his draft stock, but he’ll get a more favorable matchup now.
This vaunted Georgia defense just got a little bit thinner and less experienced for the Sugar Bowl. Texas needs any leg up it can get in this game, and this is a massive one to get just a few days out from kick-off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. A team leader in interceptions and pass deflections this year is missing, and some younger defensive backs could be thrust into a prominent role before they’re ready.
It’s always good to have the best set of talent for New Year’s Six Bowl games out on the field, but it’s also hard to deny the advantage this provides for the Horns. Deandre Baker could be the most impactful player for the Dawgs, on both sides of the ball, and the preparation for Texas just changed quite a bit for the Sugar Bowl.