As Georgia recruited placekicker/punter Rodrigo Blankenship, he was told to be ready for an open competition when August came around.
Blankenship, who joined the Bulldogs as a walk-on, is competing for both the punter and kickoff specialist roles this season. Blankenship, who played high school football at Sprayberry in Marietta, has a legitimate shot to wind up with one of those two roles this season.
“Coaches have told me, when they recruited me, you need to come in here in the summer with the mentality you’re trying to win a job, whether it’s kickoffs, field goals or punts,” Blankenship said. “Whatever it is, have the mentality you’re trying to win a spot.”
Though he has a chance to earn a spot with this year's team, there's still the chance Blankenship could also be redshirted. After all, kicker Marshall Morgan is back for his senior year after a solid junior campaign. If the Bulldogs feel comfortable to once again go with Morgan, he very well could assume kicking and kickoff duties.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Telegraph
Though Blankenship referred to himself as a kicker first, the punting job could be up for grabs.
A season ago, punter Collin Barber, who dealt with a back injury, managed an average of just 39.3 yards per punt, despite posting five punts over 50 yards or longer.
Blankenship held scholarship offers from Army, Navy, Wofford and Davidson but chose to walk on to Georgia, partly due to the chance of future playing time with Marshall and Barber both being seniors this year.
“Georgia’s always felt like home to me,” Blankenship said. “I’ve been coming to kicking camps since I was a little kid. I guess I saw there was an opportunity for me. If I was able to perform at a high standard my first year then I would have a chance. That it was always a possibility to earn a scholarship in the future. It was great to stay close to home, stay in the same state. I just hope I have a chance in the future.”