ATHENS — Rodrigo Blankenship could be playing football on scholarship right now. Named a U.S. Army All-American his senior year at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Ga., Blankenship had about 10 offers before he graduated.
But he always wanted to go to Georgia. So he agreed to come with the promise from coach Mark Richt that he’d be placed on scholarship if he ever earned the starting job.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Blankenship has earned that starting job now. After initially losing out in the kicking competition to fellow walk-on William Ham, Blankenship has taken over since the Ole Miss game and has made nine straight field goals. He missed his first kick against the Rebels — a 39-yarder that was just about a yard wide — so he’s 9-of-10 on the season and is now the team’s second-leading scorer with 40 points.
Against Kentucky, he was 4-for-4 with a career long kick of 49 yards. He also made the game-winner from 25 yards out as time expired.
But for now at least, Blankenship will remain without a grant-in-aid, coach Kirby Smart said Monday.
“We determine that kind of stuff like at the end of the year,” Smart said at his weekly news conference. “We look at the whole and kind of where we’re at and go through recruiting. We’re obviously in hot pursuit of good specialists because that’s an area we’ve got to improve on. But that will be based off how he finishes up, the whole picture, where we are. He’s certainly done a great job and has gained a lot of confidence, which I’m fired up about.”