“He’s staying, in kind of a confused and disappointed state.”

Kirby Smart called Rodrigo Blankenship’s father’s bluff.

Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship and his family have been told that the place-kicker will not be put on scholarship until next school year at the earliest, and even that is not a guarantee.

Head coach Kirby Smart informed the player and his father of that at a meeting Monday, according to someone close to the situation.

Blankenship is still planning to remain with the team, according to his older brother, Ken Blankenship, who was not in Monday’s meeting, but has since spoken to his father.

“He loves the team. But even more than ever he is so proud to be a contributing member of this team. He loves the Dawgs. He is not leaving the university. He is not going anywhere. He wants nothing more than to be part of it,” Ken Blankenship said.

All this tells you is that Georgia’s 2017 recruiting class must be shaping up to be one for the ages.

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UPDATE:  William Ham is leaving (the team, not UGA), but it doesn’t like he’s in kind of a confused and disappointed state about it.

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46 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

46 responses to ““He’s staying, in kind of a confused and disappointed state.”

  1. 3rdandGrantham

    Indeed it is. I personally hope he gets a ‘ship, as he’s deserved it, but IMO its 50/50 that they have one available for him for fall. Looks like we might sign as many as 28 — if so, we are going to need further attrition.

    When hated rivals are publicly in awe of your class, you know you’re doing something right. As mentioned the other day, this class, if it holds, is an absolute program changer.

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  2. Rodrigo is turning into a DGD. I wouldn’t blame him for taking his talents elsewhere especially if he were put on scholarship at another school. His field goal kicking was pretty much the only bright spot in a dark year for special teams.

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  3. PTC DAWG

    I for one am not sure he is worthy of a full scholly….we have more pressing needs, IMHO.

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    • Bright Idea

      I’m with you PTC. Kirby not giving scholarships because of a feel good story is OK by me. The kid still scares me to death on field goals and kickoffs are neither high or deep. Are we to really believe there other schools chomping at the bit to give him a scholarship? We left Carter at the altar but are supposed to give this kicker a full ride? Nah.

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      • barstool69

        “The kid still scares me to death on field goals”

        Please explain.

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        • Bright Idea

          Simply put, I have little confidence in him on anything longer than an XP not directly in front of the goalposts. He’s proven me wrong several times but still don’t believe he is worth a scholarship just because he is all we have at this moment. Just my opinion. Hope he becomes an All-American some day.

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          • barstool69

            The dude had the second highest FG % for a freshman in the country (#1 having made 16 of 19, opposed to Rod’s 14 of 18). What factual basis do you have to not have any confidence in him?

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    • The other field goal kicker that Beamer, Butler and Smart started at the beginning of the year couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. He came to Georgia with the understanding that if he performed he would be awarded a scholarship and turned down offers elsewhere because Morgan was here. After signing day, he deserves a spot if it’s available.

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  4. roswell dawg

    Maybe it has escaped Kirby’s notice but the kicking game at UGA is pathetic. Horrible. Rodrigo was mostly a bright spot this year but why can’t we recruit and sign kickers who can (1) kick the effin ball out of the end zone on kickoffs with extreme regularity (Note to Kirby: You don’t NEED a good coverage team when you can do this) (2) make 40 to 45 yard field goals at a clip of 85 to 90% (like the Auburn kicker) and (3) punt the ball like the Colquitt brothers? Is this really too much to ask? And can you as a head coach, justify NOT recruiting high talent position players like this? Have you not noticed that kicking is critical and should not be left to the purview of walk-ons? That appears to be Kirby’s philosophy right now and it is extremely flawed one IMHO. Wake up, Kirby, kicking wins more games than you are apparently aware of.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      Auburn just finished with the same 8-5 record as Georgia, and Tennessee won zero titles with the Colquitts punting (who were also legacy recruits, so maybe Cris Carpenter has a couple of kids who can kick the hell out of the ball?). Kicking is important, but it isn’t nearly as important as all of the every-down positions on the team.

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      • roswell dawg

        The records certainly matter but your reply doesn’t take into account the value of the position. Auburn is, thankfully, throwing up on their shoes, but the kicking game has not been a contributor to their downfall. Rather it has been a positive for their overall team performance. And Tennessee, well, their history has been checkered to be sure, but again, punting HELPED their team be better not worse. So I get your take on the every down position, and respect that, but I think the importance of kicking at a critical juncture – end of game field goal, punting for field position in the fourth quarter – vs a 3 star cornerback letting a 15 yard completion go through when it doesn’t matter, I take the good kicking game every time. Sure a weak cornerback, to use my example, makes you more vulnerable but seeing your kickoffs returned EVERY time and punts that travel 28 yards sideways – well, I rest my case.

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      • Macallanlover

        But kicking IS more important than the third man on the depth chart of many positions. This lack of attention to solving the kicking and punting shortfalls is hurting UGA Who actually thought Ham was better than Rodrigo this past summer and into the season? Rodrigo may be below the standard we need at kicker but he was a helluva lot better than Ham. I hate the way this was handled from start until now, but this situation has been building for over a year and a half.

        If there isn’t an option to this embarrassing situation for Rodrigo, one of our dozens of “staff” members should be out scouring the intramural fields on campus, or soccer fields in Europe/Australia. Kicking, and punting, is more than just a detail, and we will pay a price if we don’t upgrade before summer camp.

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  5. Irwin R. Fletcher

    Head coach Kirby Smart informed the player and his father of that at a meeting Monday, according to someone close to the situation.

    Blankenship is still planning to remain with the team, according to his older brother, Ken Blankenship, who was not in Monday’s meeting, but has since spoken to his father.

    Hmmm…I wonder who the ‘source’ was? Feel for the kid…but put himself in a pretty bad spot going public. Worst part is how does Kirby now not bring in other kickers as walk-ons? You have to make sure if Rodrigo bolts, you have other options…and they may end up better.

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    • Texas Dawg

      I don’t think he did it. I think it was his father that went public.

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      • Go Dawgs!

        Precisely. The kid barely even commented after his father went to the media. He has kept his head down, and he’s a credit to the team. If we have a scholarship available after signing the Class of ’17, I hope that he gets it. If he doesn’t, then I hope he’ll earn his degree and land a job somewhere that helps pay off his student loans and that he’ll be successful in life. He deserves every blessing that comes his way because he’s absolutely going about his business in the right way.

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  6. Starbreaker

    I think this is just a case of Kirby not wanting to lock up a scholarship until he sees what comes through on NSD. I agree that a good kicker is invaluable (as we’ve seen) and hopefully the numbers work out and we’re able to give a scholly to Rodrigo, but perhaps it’s not till this summer. As mentioned above, it’s not like he is nailing 55 yarders regularly and booming it out of the endzone on kickoffs…I’m sure if that was a case, he would have a scholarship (actually, he probably would already have one some place coming out of HS).

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  7. DawgPhan

    If the kid could transfer and play next year at any school with no restrictions, does Smart find a scholarship?

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  8. heyberto

    The new Georgia Way. I don’t like it, but this is what we are now. I guess I’ll say I can live with it as long as it works.

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  9. Bulldog Joe

    “He loves the team. But even more than ever he is so proud to be a contributing member of this team. He loves the Dawgs. He is not leaving the university. He is not going anywhere. He wants nothing more than to be part of it.”

    Right you are, Ken. Rodrigo’s contribution and improvement was the bright spot on our special teams.

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  10. doofusdawg

    Guess he is eligible to turn pro after next season. If I’m Kirby I offer the best place kicker in the country for 2018. And the best punter… we will have plenty of room in next year’s class.

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  11. HVL Dawg

    “He is not leaving the university. He is not going anywhere. He wants nothing more than to be part of it,” Ken Blankenship said.”

    I remember when my daughter told me she was going to college at NYU instead of instate at UNC.

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  12. W Cobb Dawg

    Wasn’t Blankenship a grayshirt? Unlike a preferred walk-on, I thought a grayshirt was due a scholly…eventually. Of course, that was a promise from CMR, not CKS.

    I could see why CMR liked Blankenship. He’s gotten fairly dependable with extra points and FGs, and would likely be fine with pooch and directional kick-offs. Unfortunately, the rest of the cfb world wants a kicker who can consistently boot it through the endzone.

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  13. Russ

    I get the numbers problem, but a good kicker (and Blankenship is one) is essential to the team. Not sure what the answer is, but I’m pretty sure a public pissing contest between the dad and Kirby isn’t it.

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  14. Biggen

    As far as recruiting and roster management, I’m loving this new Georgia Way. Just gotta coach em now…

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  15. Bob

    Dad didn’t really start it either. Chip Towers went to his home to do a story on the kid after he kicked the winning FG vs UK. During the interview the father mentioned the issue and that is when it all came out. Dad apparently has financial concerns about his son in school. Perhaps not the best way to handle it, but I also see a concerned Dad….which is ok by me. I have seen Georgia fans bash Chip Towers for digging up stuff. I have seen them blame the kid himself. I have seen them blame the dad. And some have blamed Kirby. Maybe there is no real blame to go around…at least not yet. I do know that Georgia’s Special Teams suck and have sucked and we apparently are not in any rush to fix them. I guess that old adage about special teams being 1/3 of the game is myth.

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  16. Thisoleboy

    What about a kickstarter or go fund me for Specs dad. That way he could pay for specs tution? Yall is lawyers right?

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    • 92 grad

      I think the NCAA might have a tiny bit of a problem with this, but it’s a good idea.

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      • HirsuteDawg

        They let Cam’s dad to it.

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        • Thisoleboy

          I would start one if I knew it would be legal. I just don’t know what the rules are. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be within the rules since he is a walk on and the money would be charity for his dad. If it was given to his dad how could any issues arise. Why wouldn’t this work?

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          • Macallanlover

            I can assure you after my encounter with the NCAA during the 2005 Boise opener, they would give UGA football the death penalty if we tried to help an actual UGA player financially. The Boise incident was for UGA fans to pay for a Boise player’s dad who was in Iraq and traveling to Athens. They got the UGA compliance office involved and advised we should back off.

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  17. I’m cool with it as long as it’s ok for players to leave early, sit out bowls and generally have less allegiance to the university. I hope we win a title soon because I feel that this is gonna lead to me enjoying it less and less….like the NFL. I think I’m realizing that Smart and McGump are firmly on the same page. From how the fans are treated to how the student-athletes are treated…it’s all business.

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  18. Cosmic Dawg

    One year in, my opinion of CKS is he’s probably a dick, and while having the #2 recruiting class is lots of fun, it just makes CKS a dick with a sports car. = Still a dick.

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    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Well, if honesty makes him a dick, I don’t care. All my life I’ve had respect for people who are direct and honest, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is a factor in his recruiting success. What can Kirby do? Hand out a scholly he doesn’t have? Duck a meeting with Rodrigo and his dad? I want coach to tell me what he thinks, and if it isn’t what I want I might be confused and disappointed, but as long as you don’t ‘forget’ to tell me when practice is, I’m showing up and trying even harder.

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  19. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I love me some Rodrigo Blankenship, but if we think about it a minute, being the bright spot of our special teams isn’t saying all that much by itself. I don’t think many schools allocate a signing day scholly to a kicker of any sort. Plus, when we’ve done that, we’ve had a kid who had the yips in big games. Come summer, if the numbers are such he can get one, I think that would be good.

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    • 92 grad

      Yep. I played the battle hymn solo for 2 years in the redcoats. The damn xylophone players had bigger schollys than I ever did…life.

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