Growing up a South Carolina fan, Alex Herrera’s favorite player was Elliott Fry.
Now, the Spring Valley kicker is taking the same route as Fry as he is walking on to play at South Carolina. Fry went on to earn a scholarship with the Gamecocks and become the school’s all-time leading scorer.
“In my opinion, he was one of the best to ever play at USC. What stood out about him is he is really humble and had a really good attitude,” Herrera said this week during practice for the inaugural Metro Bowl all-star game. “Hopefully I can compete and go earn a scholarship.”
Herrera has never met Fry but was on the opposing sideline when the former USC kicker was an assistant at Richland Northeast last season.
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Herrera had two other offers, including one at Western Carolina, but said walking on at USC was too tough to pass up.
The 6-foot Herrera grew up playing soccer and didn’t start kicking until middle school. He said his kicking really took off last summer when he took part in Kohl’s Kicking Camps.
This season at Spring Valley, Herrera averaged 41.3 yards a punt, was 10-of-13 on field goals and 27-of-29 on extra points. He is the 15th-ranked kicker in the country, according to the Kohl’s kicking rankings.
“It is always a kids’ dream to play college football. I never thought of playing on this level,” Herrera said. “I have been talking to (USC special teams) coach Coleman Hutzler. I have been told to come in and compete and do my best. If I go in, compete and do my best, I think I can have a shot.”
Herrera is part of a talented group of all-stars taking part in the Metro Bowl, which is being held Saturday at Irmo High School. Malik Wesley, Herrera’s teammate at Spring Valley, signed with UNLV, and A.C. Flora’s Quincy Riley signed with Middle Tennessee State.
Wake Forest signee Kendrell Flowers from Irmo was selected to play for the West team but gave his spot up for one of his teammates.
“There is a lot of Division I guys on the East roster right here,” said Ridge View coach Perry Parks, the game’s founder. “So people, that question if we have quality all-stars, we really do.”
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Irmo High School
Radio/Internet: 102.7 FM, www.kool1027.com and the Kool 102.7 app. The game also will be streammed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KMVideoProductions/ or http://watchsc.tv/