Fry stronger, more confident heading into second season

dmclemore@thestate.comApril 8, 2014 

Elliott Fry at South Carolina's spring football practice Friday, March 21, 2014.

DWAYNE MCLEMORE — dmclemore@thestate.com

— Elliott Fry kicked field goals of 38, 28 and 38 yards in Saturday's scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium.

There was little to no pressure felt by the sophomore from Frisco, Texas. In fact, there's not a lot he's stressing out about these days as he enters his second year as a starter who is now on scholarship.

"There's a lot more confidence with kicking knowing I don't have to worry about big crowds like I did when I first came in," he said. "I don't have to worry about that anymore, or any pressure really. I feel like I can do anything."

Fry's media bio rings true: He was "maybe the most pleasant surprise of the 2013 season" as he became the first USC freshman to placekick in a season opener since Courtney Leavitt in 1996.

As a true freshman walk-on in 2013, Fry was 15-for-18 on field goals - tied for 29th-best field-goal percentage in the nation. He kicked two field goals on the road at Missouri, including the game-winning 40-yarder in double overtime.

His 54 PATs in a season set a school record as he earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team.

Coaches rewarded Fry with a scholarship in the weeks after the Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin. It was welcome news and something he and special teams coordinator Joe Robinson had discussed for awhile.

There's still room for improvement, he said.

"I'd like to be a lot more consistent," Fry said. "I still missed kicks last year. You can always improve there."

Fry continues to try and gain weight, and he's finding success there as well. Listed at 155 pounds this spring, he said he's closer to 170 now on a high-protein, 5,500-calories-a-day diet.

He feels stronger in 2014 and has set his sights on an added duty.

"I'd like to win the kickoff job too," he said. "I think I'm hitting my kickoffs a lot better. It's just the spring so we've got a long way to go."

He has some extra motivation this spring and summer with the Gamecocks' season-opening opponent Aug. 28 being at Williams-Brice against Texas A&M. Fry has plenty of family and friends with connections to the school that's located about 200 miles from his hometown.

"I've got a lot of people are coming down to the game," he said. "I grew up liking the University of Texas, so I always hated the Aggies. That will be cool to play them."

For now, there's still time to get better - and not feel much pressure in the process.

"It's been awesome," Fry said. "I'm really thankful for everything. I'm just glad I can be out here doing it."

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