Bulldog cornerback Deandre Baker and kicker Rodrigo Blankenship both had an outstanding 2017. Now it appears that writers are tabbing each for a big follow up year. Baker, a senior out of Miami, was named to the AP All-American Team as a first team selection. Blankenship was selected as the second team kicker.
Baker emerged as the preeminent lockdown artist in the UGA secondary last season, snatching three interceptions and breaking up nine passes. He also added forty-four tackles while playing in all fifteen games and starting fourteen of them. With Tyrique McGhee out for an indeterminate period with a foot injury, Baker looks to be the clear leader in the Red and Black secondary to start the season.
Blankenship, a junior from Marietta, hit twenty of twenty-three field goals (including every one from inside 40 yards). He also hit on all sixty-three of his extra point attempts (and has now hit eighty-nine straight over the course of his Bulldog career). Perhaps most importantly, Blankenship’s sixty-seven touchbacks on kickoffs routinely spotted the Bulldog defense in good position throughout the year. In short, if there is a more effective kicker returning in college football this season, you’ll have to point him out to me. I haven’t seen one.
While preseason accolades don’t win postseason trophies, these awards are a good reminder that Georgia returns many of the most important cogs from its 2017 SEC Championship squad, which will take the field against Austin Peay to open the season on September 1st. Until later . . .