Georgia coach Kirby Smart has been doing an incredible job on the recruiting trail recently and has boosted his team to No. 2 in the recruiting rankings right behind Alabama. However, he may have serious trouble brewing on the roster currently enrolled in school.
It was reported a few months ago that starting kicker Rodrigo Blankenship would strongly consider leaving the team or even the school if Smart didn’t put him on scholarship. His parents were pretty upset about it and even spoke to Smart about it as they are in a very tight financial situation and having Rodrigo on scholarship would go a long way to ease their burden of sending him there.
They wrote a letter to Dawg Nation they wanted everyone to see and here’s a sample of the entire letter:
OK—this is for public consumption, and I am writing this only as a parent’s attempt to defend his son’s victimization of an injustice. This has gone beyond the point of money being an issue. The real issue is whether our son deserves to be on scholarship.
In two months, Coach Smart went from “We have a damn good field goal kicker over there” to “I’m not sure if we trust Rodrigo to be the player we want in that position.” That was the excuse/rationale/explanation he employed in our meeting on Jan. 2 after delivering a well-planned and well-conceived litany of deficiencies regarding our son’s practice, injury and emotional “issues.” This would be AFTER he trusted our son enough to kick field goals and extra points for the last 10 games of the season.
At the same time Coach Smart was focusing on negative issues (that we have labeled as flimsy and contrived and weightless compared to all of our son’s positives), he was also discounting, minimizing and ultimately dismissing all of Rodrigo’s on-field contributions and accomplishments, noting that they weren’t good enough to deserve a scholarship and that “somebody else” could have done the same. At no time did Coach Smart mention anything about scholarship numbers, other than to say that he never puts anyone on scholarship mid-year.
They go on to say that that is actually wrong because there are about to be several freshmen enrolling early who will be put on scholarship.They also make the case that he’s already contributed to the team and has been a big reason they’ve won some games. Blankenship did hit 14 of his 18 field goals and made all 26 of his extra points attempts.
They also mention that not only are the kick holders and long snappers on scholarship, but so are their backups! And yet, a starting kicker can’t get a scholarship. They clearly don’t have any love for Smart as they tear him down throughout the letter and they even say he came into their meeting with a list of grievances as if Rodrigo was an employee, which he is most certainly not — and in fact pays his “employer” for the opportunity to “work.”
He was named to the All-SEC Freshman team and so now Smart is looking like anything but that right now. Instead of outright saying he didn’t have the numbers or isn’t willing to give him the scholarship right away, he’s rationalizing and explaining away why the young man doesn’t deserve a scholarship when it seems he clearly does.
[h/t Dawg Nation]