South Carolina freshman offensive lineman Pete Leota said he responds well to tough, in-your-face coaching, which is one reason he chose to play for the Gamecocks and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.
Leota said he needs a coach that will push him to be the best he can be, and he believes he’s getting that in Elliott.
“He’s aggressive on the field. I like coaches that push people around, actually push people around physically. I love that,” Leota said.
The Asheville (N.C.) High product also had offers from North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Boston College, and considered opening his recruitment after Steve Spurrier announced his resignation. When new coach Will Muschamp retained Elliott, the decision for Leota was an easy one.
“I knew in my mind that if coach Elliott was going to stay I was going to stay. I’m really excited to play for coach Elliott,” Leota said. “He offers me a lot. He’s sent linemen to the NFL. He’s a great coach. He has a family, so he knows how to be a second dad.”
In addition to Elliott, Leota is also anxious to work with South Carolina’s director of strength and conditioning, Jeff Dillman.
Like Elliott, Dillman aggressively tries to get the most out of his players.
“He’s an up-tempo kind of guy. I really like him,” Leota said. “I need someone that’s going to be in my face all the time.”
Leota spent the spring using Dillman’s workout plan and said he handled it pretty well since he had his own strength coach in high school.
“I have a strength coach so the transition hasn’t been that bad. It’s all about technique,” Leota said. “That’s what Jeff Dillman says. He’s all about that technique.”
Leota has the goal of playing as a freshman at South Carolina, but admitted that it’s difficult to play on the offensive line in your first year.
Still, he said he will do everything he can to earn immediate playing time.