Rodrigo Blankenship, J.R. Reed award finalists, D’Andre Swift and Andrew Thomas snubbed
ATHENS — Georgia football seniors J.R. Reed and Rodrigo Blankenship are carrying the team banner on the postseason awards circuit.
First things first, the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (10-1) look to take care of business at Georgia Tech (3-8) at noon on Saturday, and then it’s on to the SEC Championship Game to face No. 1-ranked LSU.
But then comes the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 12.
Reed was named one of three finalists for the Thorpe Award (top defensive back) on Monday, following up on his distinction of being named one of five finalists for the Nagurski Award (top defensive player) last week.
Blankenship was named one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award (kicker) on the heels of earning SEC Special Teams Player of the Week for the sixth time this season.
Blankenship kicked four field goals in the Bulldogs’ 19-13 win over Texas A&M last Saturday, becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Blankenship is also one of three finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to the most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on.
Reed is part of a secondary that hasn’t allowed a play longer than 30 yards in the past five games and leads the SEC in total defense, scoring defense and ranks seventh in the nation in pass efficiency defense.
Two of the more surprising omissions for Georgia on the awards list were offensive tackle Andrew Thomas and tailback D’Andre Swift.
Thomas was not one of the three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior lineman.
The Bulldogs bested Auburn on the field, 21-14, but Tigers’ defensive lineman Derrick Brown was the lone SEC representative on the Outland Trophy finalist list.
Swift, who has carried the Bulldogs to a 10-1 mark with his second consecutive 1,000-yard season, was left off the Doak Walker list. Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor were the three finalists.
“I don’t think the guy gets enough credit, it just baffles me,” UGA coach Kirby Smart said after Swift’s ninth career 100-yard performance last Saturday. “I guess people have the expectation of he’s going to get 250 and 300 but I don’t even know like who in the SEC is close to him in rushing yards.
“What back out there is putting out 100-yard games against these caliber of defenses?”
Swift is third in the SEC with 1,132 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry against defenses stacked up to stop him.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) November 23, 2019
Georgia likes to claim itself “RBU,” but the Bulldogs haven’t had a Doak Walker Award winner since 1992 (Garrison Hearst).
The Award, based in Texas, has had four different SEC players win it since its inception: Hearst, Darren McFadden (2006-07), Trent Richardson (2011) and Derrick Henry (2015).
Junior Jake Fromm, the first player in SEC history to lead his team to three consecutive SEC Championship Games his first three years, was not a Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award finalist.
The three who were: LSU’s Joe Burrow, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
DawgNation Georgia football stories