Blankenship gets Army honor
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
July 23, 2014 12:44 AM | 2357 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sprayberry kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was named an Army All-American and earned an invitation to play in January’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
<br>Staff file photo by Samantha M. Shal
Sprayberry kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was named an Army All-American and earned an invitation to play in January’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Staff file photo by Samantha M. Shal
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Sprayberry kicker Rodrigo Blankenship accomplished a goal he set when he was in the seventh grade.

He’s one of 90 players who have made the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and he will be making plans to go to San Antonio to take part in the East-vs.-West all-star game Jan. 4 at the Alamodome.

This marks the sixth straight year Blankenship has been named an all-American. Football University/Eastbay selected him three times, and Prokicker.com selected him twice.

Blankenship is the first local player to become an U.S. Army All-American since Walton teammates Tyren Jones and Brandon Kublanow were selected in 2012.

In its 14-year history, the All-American Bowl has played host to such future NFL stars as Adrian Peterson, Andrew Luck, Jamaal Charles, LaSean McCoy and Percy Harvin.

“I didn’t have any excitement when I first realized I made it. It was more of a relief that I didn’t let it slip away,” Blankenship said. “Then, I finally realized how excited I was.”

The rising senior was selected after attending a showcase event last weekend in Dublin, Ohio.

Chris Sailer, a former All-American kicker at UCLA who went on to play five seasons in the Arena Football League, was brought in to evaluate the kickers.

“When you hear Sailer’s name going around, you want to go to his camp and look good in front of him,” Blankenship said.

During the showcase, Blankenship took part in a last-man-standing field goal competition, as well as a kickoff competition to determine who could kick the ball out of the end zone and get the longest hang time.

Blankenship won the field goal competition, booting the ball through the uprights from 50 yards out, and he made the final round of the kickoff competition. The following day, he secured a spot by nailing consecutive 50-yard field goals.

Blankenship represented Sprayberry in the Georgia Junior Bowl last December, leading his team in scoring with 12 points on three field goals and three extra points. He also had two touchbacks on kickoffs, averaging 62 yards.

For Sprayberry last fall, he was perfect on all 31 extra-point attempts and made 14 of 23 field goal tries. He also posted a 66.8-yard kickoff average, with 45 of his 57 kickoffs being touchbacks.

He also maintained a 41.9-yard punting average.

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