On The Block: Elliott Fry


By Charlie Drafts 01/31/2017 | charlie@blockcblog.com



 (Photo: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

In the final SEC home game last season against Missouri, with a little over 8 minutes left in the second quarter, Jake Bentley threw a 17 yard touchdown pass to Rico Dowdle and Elliott Fry came in to kick an anything but routine extra point.

Fry hit the extra point right down the middle to put the Gamecocks on top 14-7.

In the box score it may have only counted as one point, but it was the 331st point of Elliott Fry's career at South Carolina and with that the senior from Frisco, Texas broke the school record to become the all-time scoring leader.

Not too bad for a former walk-on.

Going from walking on, to earning a scholarship and eventually breaking the school scoring record should come as no surprise after you get to know a little bit about Elliott Fry.

After being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at the age of 7 he has to learn to live life a different way. Over the years, he learned to manage his health while never letting it prevent him from tirelessly working to pursue his dream of playing college football.

A typical game day for most players was anything but typical for Fry.  He had to take 10 shots before every game and check his blood sugar, sometimes up to five times before kickoff.  Fry said, "It’s never something that’s easy, but I do get used to it, and it’s just something I kind of deal with now."

Fry never let it stop him or slow him down.

Fry also used his success and platform to help others dealing with juvenile diabetes. He has reached out to a lot of different kids and families struggling with the impact of the disease and is an avid supporter of the 
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Elliott Fry finished his career with 359 points including a few game winning kicks and proved to everyone including himself that anything is possible if you work hard and never give up on your dreams.

We caught up with Elliott Fry as he prepares for the South Carolina NFL Pro Day.

BCB: You’re well known for your sense of humor while playing at SC. What is the funniest Spurrier story or moment during your time at South Carolina?

FRY: “I missed a field goal in practice my freshman year, and coach Spurrier started talking to me and said, "Elliott, if you start missing, they are going to call you, Elliott the idiot!" and he just kept muttering to himself and other random people on the team "Elliott the idiot". It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard him say.”

BCB: There are several different superstitions regarding kickers before they take the field to kick a FG. Players usually don’t talk to the kicker before they take the field and some coaches choose to use a timeout at the last minute to “ice the kicker” before an important FG. For you personally, is there anything to those pre-kick antics?

FRY: “I’m not superstitious at all about kicking or anything in life. I’m usually pretty active before the games with the fans and other teammates. During the game, once we get into field goal range is when I start getting focused.”

BCB: You came to South Carolina as a walk on, tell us about the moment when you found out that you’d earned a full scholarship at USC.

FRY: “I had been talking with coach Joe Robinson a while throughout the season and was pretty sure that they were going to put me on right after the season, but after the bowl game, I was at home in Texas and the paperwork came through and I found out, it was great.”

BCB: You’ve had a lot of memorable kicks at South Carolina, the game winner against Missouri in 2013 and last year to open the season against Vandy just to name a few. What was the most memorable kick for you personally during your time at South Carolina?

FRY: “Vanderbilt was probably my biggest kick here at USC and the most memorable, but another kick that was memorable for me was the extra point that broke the school points record.”


BCB: If you had one piece of advice for any incoming recruit coming to play football at South Carolina, what would it be? What is something that you wish someone would have told you when you first arrived at SC? 

FRY: “I would tell a recruit that hard work pays off and to trust the process. The coaches are there to help you and make you a better player, but you must work outside of the practices and workouts to be successful. I can’t really think of anything that I would have liked to have known before I came
here”.

BCB: A holder on placements in college football seems to be a very underrated job. As a kicker, talk about the importance of having a good holder like you had with Patrick Fish. What do you look for most in a holder?

FRY: “Having a good holder is very important for a kicker. It is an extremely undervalued job but they can make a huge difference. I have been very fortunate to have had both Fish and Sean Kelly as my holders. Holders must have great hands and must be athletic and able to handle pressure.”

BCB: As fans, we have come to know a lot about you on and off the field. What is something about you that most Gamecock fans probably wouldn’t know?

FRY: “I have pretty much put my whole life out there for the fans through social media, but I guess people might not know that I can solve a Rubik’s cube in under 2 minutes and did it for our freshman talent show.”

BCB: Either in game or during practice or warm ups, what is the longest FG you’ve ever hit?

FRY: “I have hit somewhere around a 70-yard field goal in practice, but that has been with a lot of wind at my back. I can kick about a 62-yard field goal indoors without any wind.”

BCB: What would you tell a kid out there who loves to plays sports and wants to play at the next level who has just been diagnosed with diabetes? What would you tell your younger self now, looking back on the adversity you’ve had to overcome to be a successful college athlete?

FRY: “I would tell a kid who just got diagnosed with diabetes that it doesn’t have to stop you from doing whatever you want to do, as long as you control it. I would tell myself that it will all work out.”

Please considering giving back one in honor of Elliott Fry today, by donating at least $1 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation using the link below.  

http://www.jdrf.org/donate/

Tweet us @BlockCBlog with the hashtag #1ForFry after donating!


By Charlie Drafts 01/31/2017 


On The Block: Isaiah Johnson


By Charlie Drafts 03/20/2016 | charlie@blockcblog.com




Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Johnson came to South Carolina just when we needed him the most.  The All-Big 12 Kansas transfer was looking for a place closer to home and a place that he could come in and contribute right away. You could say it was a perfect position at the start of the last season for Isaiah Johnson.

Unfortunately, we all know how the 2015 season played out.

Although, the season was an absolute disappointment and huge step in the wrong direction, there were a few bright spots on the defensive side of the ball on last years team. I think that Isaiah Johnson was one of those bright spots.  He finished second on the team in tackles and always gave everything he had no matter what the coach, record or score was at the time.

Isaiah Johnson chose to come to South Carolina and play his final year of college football and now he has his sights set on the NFL.  I truly believe that he will have an impressive Pro Day and will garner the attention of quite a few NFL teams that will ultimately lead to him getting picked up by a team.  He has been successful everywhere he has been and has the talent, resume, mentality and toughness that bodes well at the next level.

We wish Isaiah Johnson nothing but the best and look forward to following his career at the next level.  Even though most of his time was spent at Kansas, he will always be a Gamecock. We caught up with him in this latest edition of On The Block.


BCB: You’ve had a chance to play in the Big 12 and the SEC, in your opinion what are the biggest difference between the two conferences?

IJ: The two biggest differences between the conferences are the pace and tempo that is played. I also feel like it's a lot more of a physical game in the SEC, but a lot more of an endurance game in the Big 12.

BCB: Take us back to your first meeting with Coach Spurrier, what was that meeting like and what ultimately led to your decision to transfer and choose South Carolina to play football?

IJ: My first meeting of Coach Spurrier was great. When we met we got a chance to talk about Cary, NC, where I live because he used to coach at Duke and he talked about being in Cary a lot. The decision that ultimately led me to SC was where I could come in and be an impact right away on and off the field.

BCB: What is that one particular play or moment during your short time at South Carolina that you’ll always remember and why?

IJ: One particular play that I will always remember was getting that interception right before halftime vs Tennesee because my friends would always joke with me about how I could have batted the ball down, but I intercepted it instead.


BCB: Will you be attending the South Carolina Pro-Day and where are you training and what are you doing to help prepare for the NFL draft?

IJ: Yes, I will be attending and I am training in Orlando, FL. I am working on a lot to better myself mentally and physically such as changing my diet, using yoga and meditation. I'm trying to build as many healthy habits as I can to be great.

BCB: Have you had a chance to reach out to any current or former Kansas or South Carolina NFL players for advice on getting ready for the NFL? 

IJ: Yes, I have had a chance to reach out to my friends and former Kansas players and South Carolina. They told me it's a business so make sure I come in physically and mentally prepared.

BCB: What’s the craziest or funniest thing you’ve ever seen or heard on the field during your time playing college football?

IJ: The craziest thing I've seen on the football field was when we played against LSU and the running back #5 (Derrius Guice) broke about 7 of our tackles and kept going until we eventually got him down. The craziest thing I've ever heard was a referee curse out a player.

The LSU play, in case you love depression: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:13854457

BCB: What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to incoming freshmen playing football at South Carolina this year? 

IJ: The biggest piece of advice I would give to an incoming freshman is to make sure you stay on top of your nutrition and your schedule they give you. Don't ever get lazy and always push yourself to being great everyday.

BCB: Who on this current South Carolina team do you see stepping out as leaders on defense next season under the new coaching staff and system?

IJ: I saw a lot of good young leaders last year, but I would have to give it to Toure Boyd because I saw his work ethic and leadership skills practicing with him everyday. He would always push me to be the best I could be as well.

BCB: What’s something you’d like to say to all of Gamecock Nation?

IJ: I would like to say that I loved my five months playing in Columbia and I know this new team is going to give them what they want this season. I will always be grateful to call myself a Gamecock and hope they enjoyed my time.



By Charlie Drafts 03/20/2016