Georgia will be without at least five starters, including All-Americans Andrew Thomas and J.R. Reed, when it plays Baylor in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.
The Bulldogs had previously announced that starting left tackle Thomas and right tackle Isaiah Wilson were skipping the Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN) to begin preparations for the NFL draft. Sources told ESPN that starting guard Ben Cleveland would miss the game because of academics.
Reed, a senior captain and finalist for the Thorpe Award as the sport’s best defensive back, previously said that he intended to play in the Sugar Bowl. But Reed announced on social media on Saturday that he has changed his mind and won’t play against the Bears because of a minor foot injury.
— JR Reed (@Jr_Reed1) December 28, 2019
Starting defensive tackle Tyler Clark, backup tailback Brian Herrien and safety Divaad Wilson will miss the game for undisclosed reasons, according to sources.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart declined to address the players’ status when asked by reporters in New Orleans on Friday.
“We’re going to focus on the players that are playing in the game,” Smart said.
Smart did confirm on Friday that sophomore running back James Cook, who was arrested earlier this month on misdemeanor charges for allegedly having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, would play against the Bears.
It’s unclear how much junior tailback D’Andre Swift, a potential first-round pick in next spring’s NFL draft, will play in the Sugar Bowl. Swift injured his shoulder and was limited in the Bulldogs’ last two games.
The Bulldogs were already playing without top receivers Lawrence Cager (ankle) and Dominick Blaylock (knee), who suffered season-ending injuries.