So, how close was Deandre Baker to turning pro this year? This close.
Deandre Baker couldn’t shake the memory.
His team came so close to a national championship. But in his mind, he kept recalling how the title game against Alabama ended. Georgia sacked Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa out of field goal range in overtime, with the Bulldogs believing they were close to the program’s first national championship since 1980.
Then Tagovailoa launched a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith to win the national title.
Baker was on the other side of the field when that play occurred. The fact that his team fell one game short served as the motivating factor to return. On top of all that, it just so happened that Baker was watching ESPN on the Monday deadline to make a decision about the NFL draft. That particular Tagovailoa-to-Smith touchdown appeared again. If there were any second thoughts about turning pro, they were, in that moment, destroyed.
Talk about your dark clouds and silver linings. Baker’s decision was unexpected, to say the least.
Leading up to the NFL draft early entry deadline, Baker said the feedback he received slated him anywhere in the first three rounds. He added that both head coach Kirby Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker were surprised he selected to come back.
Baker even admitted that if Georgia won the national championship, he “probably” would have entered the draft.
But the fact Georgia fell short was a deciding factor to return.
May he have no regrets after this coming season.