PAYCOM JIM THORPE AWARD
2018 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Winner Deandre Baker, University of Georgia
Prior to winning the 2018 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, Deandre Baker was a standout athlete at Northwestern High School in Miami, Florida. In addition to being a U.S. Army All-American football player, he was an All-American sprinter at Northwestern. Deandre was a three-star prospect and the #56 nationally rated corner back coming out of high school. Following graduation, he went to the University of Georgia on an athletic scholarship. He appeared in eleven games as a freshman for the Bulldogs. As a sophomore, Deandre appeared in 12 games and started in seven. He finished the 2016 season with 31 tackles, one sack, two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown and six pass breakups.
Deandre became one of the premier defensive backs in the country during his junior season at Georgia. He played in all 15 games during the 2017 season and finished as a second-team All-SEC selection. Baker recorded 44 tackles, led all Bulldogs with nine pass breakups and finished the season with three interceptions. Deandre started all 13 games for the Bulldogs in 2018. He finished his senior season with two interceptions and 10 pass breakups, both team highs, and forced and recovered one fumble. Following the regular season, Deandre was named 2018 first team All-SEC as well as being named first team All-American by Associated Press, ESPN, Walter Camp, AFCA and Sports Illustrated. Deandre will enter the 2019 NFL Draft, where he is projected to be taken in the first round.
Baker has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft.