Rodrigo Blankenship, an All-American kicker from Sprayberry High School, committed to UGA on Monday.
Blankenship will join UGA as a preferred walk-on next season, and then be put on scholarship after Marshall Morgan graduates after next season, according to his high school coach.
“Yes, Rodrigo is really excited,” Sprayberry’s Billy Shackelford told the AJC.
“They (UGA) said he was the best kicker they could find anywhere for 2015 and 2016. They don’t have a scholarship for this year’s class, but they will sign him to one that next year.”
This season, Blankenship made seven of 10 field goals, including ones from 56 and 51 yards. He averaged 70.5 yards on kickoffs, with 57 of 60 resulting in touchbacks. He also averaged 46 yards per punt.
“I’ve known the Bulldog life since the seventh grade, Blankenship told the AJC. “And it’s the life I’ve come to know and love, and I want to be part of it.”
Blankenship said he picked UGA over offers from Mercer, Wofford, Army, Navy, Davidson and The Citadel.
The kicker has his own website, RodrigoBlankenship.com. There were more details about the situation there:
A telephone call from Georgia coach Mark Richt in early December resulted in an SEC scholarship offer for Rodrigo, who accepted the opportunity to become a Southeastern Conference kicker.
Rodrigo will join the Bulldogs as a preferred walk-on in the fall of 2015. When rising senior Marshall Morgan’s eligibility runs out, Rodrigo will be placed on scholarship and will be scheduled to become Georgia’s next four-year kicker, following in the footsteps of Morgan and Blair Walsh. Coach Richt adheres to a policy of having only one kicking specialist at a time on scholarship, and Rodrigo’s year on walk-on status will eliminate any overlap.
Rodrigo will train and travel with the team, and will have five years to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in broadcast journalism. The state HOPE scholarship will pay Rodrigo’s way until he is put on scholarship. He has a 3.955 GPA and a 1210 SAT score to more than qualify for maximum HOPE tuition benefits. Based on scores from his nine AP classes during high school, Rodrigo will enter Georgia as a second-semester freshman.
Blankenship was picked to play in next month’s U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio.