Texas kicker Elliott Fry couldn't pass up the opportunity to play in the SEC when the Gamecocks called him about joining the team.
Fry (6-0, 155) played for Prince of Peace Christian School in Carrollton, Texas, where he handled all kicking duties.
He is one of two kickers that will join the Gamecocks this summer as preferred walk-ons. Fry enrolled at USC in June. (Max Huggins of Myrtle Beach is set to enroll in July.)
Fry was rated the No. 8 kicker and No. 15 punter by Chris Sailer Kicking. According to his bio from Chris Sailer Kicking, "Elliott is simply an oustanding kicker. He has a big time leg and gets great height on his ball off the ground. Kicks well under pressure. Has a great attitude and work ethic. Has proven he is worthy of a D1 scholarship."
Fry, who had 42 touchbacks in 2012, is expected to compete for the kickoff and punting roles. He visited South Carolina the weekend Jan. 11. He had a scholarship offer from Lousiana Tech.
Why South Carolina?
Being in the SEC, the football team is in the top 10 - that and I went up to visit in January and I fell in love with it. It's great. The coaches are awesome. The facilities are amazing. They have a good engineering school, which is what I'm looking into.
How South Carolina?
It was really random. Coach Joe Robinson is friends with another coach in my district. He called that coach and asked if there was anybody in the league who could kick out of the end zone. They're looking for a kickoff guy. That coach gave him my name and everything. He contacted me from there.
Who did you get to hang out with on your visit?
I hung out with Joe Robinson and Walker Inabinet. I met with Coach Spurrier. I loved it. The whole Columbia area is focused around the university. I really like that.
Talk about being a kicker, not being on scholarship and having to work your way in.
I don't blame them. I can see in their position why you wouldn't upfront offer a scholarship. The way it looks like they do it and what I've talked with them about it, if you start for a year as a kicker or punter, the next year they'll scholarship you. That's usually how they do it. It's on the basis where you have to earn it. That's fine with me. I'm glad to do it.
For people who don't know, tell me what "preferred walk-on" means?
It means pretty much everything a scholarship player would mean, without the money. They're inviting me on the team to do a certain position. They're specifically offering me for the kickoff position. I have to challenge for the kickoff position. I think they want me to start on kickoffs next year - if I can prove to them that I can.
Do you do all the kicking at your high school?
Yes, I did kickoffs, field goals and punting.
What makes you good at kickoffs?
Every time they asked me to kick it deep, it's out of the end zone. I've had a bunch of balls go through the uprights.
Do you have the feeling that you could play right away if you do well?
Yes. I'm also a punter too, and I think I'm going to challenge for that job too. I think I could potentially start.
What's next for you physically between now and August?
Just a lot of working out and tuning my kicking. I definitely need to put on weight.
How excited are you about kicking in the SEC?
That's one of the main reasons why I couldn't turn it down. Without question the SEC is the best conference in America. Having the ability to play in the SEC and for South Carolina, who is going to be preseason ranked top 10, that's huge. That's awesome.