Georgia place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship has earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship to add to his career accolades.
With Blankenship’s selection, Georgia football has now had 14 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipients. Each of the players who received this year’s NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship will be awarded a $10,000 postgraduate scholarship. Blankenship had already earned a National Football Foundation (NFF) Scholar-Athlete Award in December 2019 and the $18,000 postgraduate scholarship that comes with it.
Blankenship is one of 11 football players at all different levels of the NCAA on the 21-man NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship list. He is one of only two student-athletes from the Southeastern Conference on the men’s 2019-20 list.
The 2018 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team member and 2019 First Team All-American is the first Bulldog to garner the Scholar-Athlete Award since 2002-03. That year, Jon Stinchcomb was the Bulldog football player to garner the scholarship.
Tommy Lawhorne in 1968 was the first Georgia winner. Billy Payne (1969), Tommy Lyons (1971), Tom Nash (1972), Mixon Robinson (1972), Jeff Lewis (1978), Jeff Pyburn (1980), Chris Welton (1981), Terry Hoage (1983), Kim Stephens (1987), Richard Tardits Z(1988) and Matt Stinchcomb (1998) are also Bulldogs who have been honored.
A former walk-on who was a member of the 2018 SEC Community Service Team and a 2018 UGA undergraduate degree winner, Blankenship has distinguished himself as exceptional both on and off the playing field. Honors rolled in for Blankenship during his senior season in 2019. The six-time 2019 SEC Special Teams Player of the Week earned the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for football to reward his success in the classroom.
In addition, Blankenship graduated Cum Laude (3.71 GPA) in December 2018 with a degree in Digital and Broadcast Journalism. The 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and 2019 Academic All-American was a 2018 winner of the Billy Payne Award for graduating with at least a 3.0 GPA and being on the football team for four years.
On the field, Blankenship was the winner of the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the nation’s top place-kicker and a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is given to a walk-on who turns into an outstanding performer for his team. He scored a school-record 440 points in his career and finished as the SEC record holder with 200 consecutive converted point-after attempts.
Blankenship’s career journey included kicking a game-winner at Kentucky in 2016 as a redshirt freshman walk-on and drilling a 30 yarder to clinch the victory at No. 24 Notre Dame in 2017. After that victory in the locker room, he announced to his teammates that he had earned a scholarship. Two of his more memorable moments in uniform were setting a Rose Bowl Game record with a 55-yard field goal during the double-overtime win over No. 2 Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff Semifinal. In the next contest, Blankenship sent a successful 51 yarder through in overtime of the National Championship Game versus No. 4 Alabama.
Blankenship is currently preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft in April.