ATHENS — It sounds like the big decisions at kicker and punter are a lot closer to happening than the one at quarterback.
Head coach Kirby Smart didn’t announce anything after Tuesday’s practice but said “we’re closer and closer.” Asked if the place-kicking and kickoff duties could be different, Smart said yes.
Indications have been that redshirt sophomore William Ham could be choice to kick field goals and extra points, while Rodrigo Blankenship would then start out as the kickoff specialist. Freshman Marshall Long, signed to a scholarship in February, has been regarded as the favorite at punter, but Brice Ramsey isn’t out of the competition yet, Smart said.
Ham would be seeing his first action as a Bulldog, but has been with the team off and on since 2014.
A graduate of Macon’s Stratford Academy, Ham walked on to the team in 2014 and redshirted, as Marshall Morgan was the established starter. He then left the team for a year, before being talked into returning this past spring.
Blankenship had the better G-Day, going two-for-three on field goals (including a made 46-yarder) and all three extra point tries. Ham was 1-for-2 on field goals and made his only extra point try. But G-Day was one of six scrimmages over the spring and preseason in which the two have been competing. And they’ve competed in practice as well.
Blankenship was selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2014, when he was a senior at Sprayberry High School in Marietta. He came to Georgia as a recruited walk-on, redshirting last year with Morgan in his senior year.