Georgia kicker Blair Walsh was tabbed to four different preseason first-team All-American squads, including The Sporting News, but his senior season didn’t go like he or others expected.
Walsh converted 19 of 31 field goals after missing just five total the previous two seasons.
Yet with one college game left, Walsh needs just six points to pass former Bulldog Billy Bennett as the Southeastern Conference’s career points leader. Bennett had 409 from 2000-03. Walsh has 404 entering the Jan. 2 Outback Bowl.
Walsh, from Boca Raton, Fla., spoke to reporters about his senior season and his career as a Bulldog recently.
Q: What do you think about getting one more chance in Tampa after the things that went on for you this season?
A: Yeah, it’s the last game for me, playing in my home state of Florida, which is nice. I get to go out hopefully as a victor over Michigan State. It’s been a nice career here, it’s been fun and it’s kind of sad it’s coming to an end, but hey I’ve got one more game to play.
Q: What’s been the most difficult thing this year working through everything?
A: Just believing in yourself, believing in your abilities. At some times you start to question yourself and whether or not you have the ability to succeed and you’ve got realize you’ve been doing it for a long time and you’ve got to trust yourself and the ability of the people around you to help you through it. I ended up eventually doing it.
Q: Do you hope a good bowl game will carry over into the NFL draft evaluation process?
A: Absolutely. I use it as the last sort of step before that whole draft process. Right now I’m just really focused on playing well and just being there for my team for this last game.
Q: Despite not having the season that you wanted, you’re still in striking distance of the scoring record. How sweet would that be?
A: That would be awesome, but records are made to be broken. I’m sure someone will come along and break that. It would be nice to definitely go out on top, but Billy’s record is definitely a pretty highly regarded one around here. It was would be nice to sort of break that.
Q: How well have you got to know Billy?
A: Not that much. He hasn’t reached out to me that much. He reached out to me about middle of this season. That’s it. I haven’t really gotten to know him that well compared to the other guys.
Q: Did this season’s ups and downs for you help you grow?
A: Absolutely. You know what it feels like to miss and unfortunately I felt that too much this season. You know what it feels like to try and rebound from bad performances. I would have liked not to have it. I could have been just as well without it. You definitely learn from it and eventually it will help me.
Q: How do you view your pro prospects?
A: I still think I’m the same guy that I was all the other three years I was here. I think that my body of work sort of speaks for itself. I think I’m one of the more well-rounded kickers there are coming out in this class. Hopefully I’ll get a shot for a team to play at the next level and play for a long time.
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