Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker reached an important decision on Thursday, one that could bolster his stock for the upcoming NFL draft.

The All-SEC performer won't be joining his UGA teammates on the field for Saturday's Sugar Bowl clash with No. 15 Texas.

Baker, an All-American defender and arguably the most NFL-ready cornerback of the 2019 draft class, will instead anxiously watch the action along the sidelines, knowing preparations for the NFL Combine (March) and draft (April) will soon follow.

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UGA head coach Kirby Smart announced Baker's status from New Orleans, emphasizing it wasn't an injury-based decision.

This leaves the Bulldogs secondary down one dominant player ... against Longhorns QB Sam Ehlinger, the fourth-best passer in Big 12 play this season (3,123 yards passing, 25 TDs).

The senior Baker accounted for two sacks, two interceptions, nine pass deflections and 40.5 tackles this season.

Baker's absence might also affect the pregame judgment of betting experts. Currently, VegasInsider.com has No. 5 Georgia installed as a 13-point favorite.