Brian Almond / The Daily Gamecock

Former Gamecocks shine in new AAF

You’ve had a great college football career. Everyone at your college knows you, you’re a household name among fans and you will live long in the memories of fans, students and alumni alike.

You’re ready for the next level, but the NFL doesn’t work out like you hoped it would. For some former Gamecocks, that's where the AAF steps in.

The Alliance of American Football is a professional football league that started in February that plans to play in the spring every year starting the week after the Super Bowl.

The AAF's rules are similar to the NFL's with a few exceptions: no kickoffs, no extra points, a shortened play clock and different overtime rules.

The AAF includes some notable former college football players like former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray with the Atlanta Legends and former Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the Birmingham Iron.

Among these players are former Gamecocks such as former head coach Steve Spurrier, former defensive tackle Devin Taylor and all-time scoring leader kicker Elliott Fry.

Spurrier was hired as head coach of the Orlando Apollos in April 2018, his first coaching job since his resignation with South Carolina during the 2015 season. 

“I love the new rules in the Alliance," Spurrier told the Orlando Sentinel. "The games are going to be 2 1/2 hours with a 30-second clock in between plays. There’s not going to be a lot of dead time.”

Fry is another former Gamecock continuing his football career with the Apollos. Fry played for the Gamecocks between 2013 and 2016 and made 75 percent of his field goals with South Carolina.

After his senior season at South Carolina, Fry tried out with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was unable to make the squad before signing with the Apollos back in November. 

So far in his time with the Apollos, Fry has not missed a field goal. He's made 12 out of 12 attempts in his AAF career including a 47-yard attempt in his second game against the San Antonio Commanders. 

Now a defensive tackle for the Birmingham Iron, Taylor's name is still familiar to Gamecock fans. Taylor played for the garnet and black between 2009 and 2012. During his college career, he garnered a total of 161 tackles and 18.5 sacks.

After his time in Columbia, Taylor was drafted by the NFL’s Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Taylor started all 16 games with the Lions in the 2016 season with 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks but was not resigned by Detriot and instead signed with the NFL’s New York Giants.

Taylor played two games for the Giants and was released during the 2017 season. Since then, Taylor has found his new home with the Birmingham Iron. So far in his time with the Iron, Taylor has a total of six tackles and one sack.

With teams now being about halfway through their seasons in the AAF, these former Gamecocks are pushing for something that they strove for at South Carolina: a championship.

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