Missed field goals and an inability to kick the ball in the end zone has nearly plagued Georgia in the early stages of the season.
With the formerly dependable Marshall Morgan graduated, the place kicking duties are currently in the hands of sophomore Rodrigo Blankenship and William Ham.
With Ham off to a 3-of-7 start with field goals, and with Blankenship struggling with consistently hitting touchbacks, Georgia is continuing to recruit the position in its recruiting class of 2017.
One of the top place kicking prospects in the state of Georgia, Mill Creek’s Brenton King, has received interest from the Bulldogs’ coaching staff, and the feeling is mutual.
"The interest began when I attended the Kirby Smart football camp in July," King said. "We recently began conversation through direct messages on Twitter, and I’ve sent them some of my highlight tapes. They’ve invited me to a visit as well, I plan to attend the Tennessee game (on Oct. 1) or the Auburn game (on Nov. 12)."
One issue seemed to lie in whether head coach Kirby Smart would grant a scholarship offer to a place kicker. During the offseason, Smart stated reluctance to do that as he believed that quality walk-on kickers could be found.
While his walk-on kickers haven’t performed well to start this season, Smart clarified his previous statement in preparation for the Mississippi game on Monday. He indicated a need at the position and that his staff will continue to search for top-tier place kicking talent.
"We’re going to always go in and recruit kickers," Smart said. "It’s a matter of whether we’re going to commit a scholarship to it or not. That is not a policy by any means. I firmly believe that you’ve got to have a great kicker. I’ve been around when you didn’t. That to me is, can we find the best one, and can the best one be the best one?"
King seems hopeful of earning a scholarship offer as discussions continue with the Georgia staff. But King is also drawing interest from other power five programs.
"Georgia would definitely be in my top three schools," King said. "I really like (special teams coordinator Shane) Beamer and (special teams analyst James) Vollono. “While they definitely have my interest, I’ve also been offered by Old Dominion, and have been talking to Louisville, South Carolina and University of Texas at San Antonio."
Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis said King has offers from Louisville, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt, in addition to Old Dominion.
King has had a successful high school career to this point, with his career-long field goal being a 56-yard kick through the uprights. In addition, King has drawn touchbacks on 22 of his 25 kickoffs through four games of his senior campaign.
Georgia is in search of production at the place-kicker, and King’s numbers are of appeal to the Bulldogs and could serve as the beginning of a special teams reboot under Beamer.
"I’ve heard from kicking coaches that Ham was a decent kicker, and is just going through a rough spot," King said. "But I feel like I could help the kicking situation a lot if I were there."