He's no longer known as walk-on fullback Connor McLaurin.
South Carolina's No. 1 fullback, a junior from Raleigh, N.C., was put on scholarship this month along with junior cornerback Sidney Rhodes.
McLaurin (6-0, 237) earned the Outstanding Weight Room award for the offense at the 2013 Garnet & Black Spring Game.
Here's what McLaurin had to say about the scholarship, preseason practice and more.
How did you find out you were on scholarship?
Actually it was during practice. I had a big block on somebody. After that, [coach Steve Spurrier] said, 'For a big block in the preseason, Connor McLaurin we're going to give you a scholarship.' Of course everybody went crazy. I was definitely excited, the first time I heard about it. It's definitely a blessing.
Who did you tell about it first?
I called my father. He's always been there for me. He's always believed in me. Both my parents support me very strongly.
Now that you're on scholarship, what's next?
Now I just have to get better every day. I wasn't focused on the scholarship in the first place. I don't play for that. I want to win a championship and I want to try to make this team better. That's what all of us do. We're out here to compete.
Does it change anything or make anything harder?
Not at all. It just helps me financially. I was excited when I got it, truly blessed. It's back to work. You can't let that affect what you're doing.
The fullbacks had a few catches in the scrimmage the media was able to watch - a sign of things to come?
I really can't say. We've been getting a few, but I think that's a product of the scrimmage. We'll see. I would love to catch the ball, but blocking is def first.
Talk about becoming the top fullback here.
It was a dream, always a dream of mine. You never really know. You just keep working and when the opportunity comes, you just have to take it. I worked hard all offseason for a few years now and the opportunity came. Right now I'm starting, yes, but I have to keep it. I have to get better every day and make sure somebody else doesn't take my spot and help the team the best way I can.
What is the fullback's role in this offense?
We pass block a lot. We run block a lot too. We're not traditionally going to get the ball. Just a typical fullback, clear the way for the running back and protect the quarterback. That's our job.
Are you a good blocker?
I try to do my best. I work hard every day at it. I'm not perfect. I still have a lot of things to clean up myself.
From your view, how is this current group of running backs doing?
Very well. Mike Davis has a lot of talent, he really does. David Williams too, and Brandon Wilds. Shon Carson is very fast. They all bring different things to the table. It's very good to have them in the rotation. It's very fun to watch.
And Everette Sands, how has he helped you improve?
He's an awesome coach. He helps you understand the game. When you understand the game, it slows down for you and you can play a lot faster and more physical. That really helps me. I don't just know what I'm doing, I know what everybody else is doing. He's really helped me understand that. He's definitely helped me get better as a blocker too.