ATHENS — Rodrigo Blankenship has won the kicking job for Georgia.
Blankenship, the walk-on sophomore who handled the job most of last season, will be the kicker and kickoff specialist on Saturday against Appalachian State.
“Rodrigo has done a really good job, has been really consistent,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “So we’re excited for where he is. We told Rodrigo that it was real important that we hit a high percentage of our field goals. He’s competing to do that.”
Blankenship beat out graduate transfer David Marvin for the job. Smart said Marvin “will do some other things for us.”
“It was really tight,” Smart said. “Consistency probably was the biggest difference.”
Blankenship was 14 of 18 on field goals in 2016 and made all his extra points. He was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team. But the uncertainty around his scholarship status, and Georgia’s desire for better kickoffs, led to Marvin being brought in from Wofford, an FCS school.
Smart was asked whether Blankenship could be in line for the scholarship that potentially opened up after Chauncey Manac’s departure this week. Georgia was at the 85-scholarship maximum with Manac on the roster.
“He has an opportunity to [earn a scholarship], but there are some rules we have to follow, and things we have to go by, with Chauncey leaving, and school started, that that doesn’t necessarily become available,” Smart said.
Cameron Nizialek previously was announced as the starting punter.
As for the other specialists, either Mecole Hardman or Sony Michel will “probably” handle kickoffs, Smart said. That decision is scheduled to be finalized after practice Wednesday.
The punt returner position also has not been determined, with Hardman, Terry Godwin and Ahkil Crumpton in the mix.