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November 13, 2013

Patrick Fish: Internet sensation

Not many collegiate placeholders are as popular right now as South Carolina's Patrick Fish.

The redshirt junior can be seen holding every snap for placekicker Elliott Fry on Saturdays, but most of his prominence stems from his sense of humor and his fun-loving nature, the latter of which prompted him to record his successful attempt of a trick shot field goal before the Mississippi State game and post it to the Internet.

Less than two weeks later, the video -- which features Fish using only his feet to spin a football on the ground, then boot it through the uprights -- had gone viral. Fish uploaded the video on Vine, a social media app that allows its users to post six-second videos on a loop, and watched it collect nearly 3,700 "likes" by Wednesday afternoon, as well as several hundred retweets and favorites when it was posted to Twitter.

"It's just now starting to blow up, which we think is pretty funny because we didn't expect anything like that at all," the Shelby, N.C., native said after practice Wednesday. "We were just messing around a little bit; we had some free time."

Fish said representatives from ESPN contacted him recently to ask for permission to use the video on their popular show College Football Live for either Wednesday or Thursday night's broadcast. Fish, who also serves as South Carolina's backup punter, said he still doesn't know exactly how to explain the trick shot, but that he picked up the skill as a result of having plenty of time on his hands before practice.

The trick shot wasn't Fish's only post that's received attention. The junior has become known for his sense of humor, and his social media accounts reflect it. Fish has over 2,300 followers on both Twitter and Vine, and the latter includes 62 posts -- most of which have pulled in dozens, if not hundreds, of likes.

Most of his videos feature self-deprecating humor and impersonations, including one where Fish dons lipstick, a cutoff shirt and tights to re-enact scenes from a recent Miley Cyrus music video. Fish says he doesn't consider himself the class clown of South Carolina's football team but just likes to have fun.

"I just like to see everybody laughing and having a good time," Fish said. "When the guys get uptight, there's no reason for all that. I know when to get serious and stuff, I know when to compete, but I'm more laid back. I like to have a good laugh every now and then."

Fish's latest antics include the possibility of his abandoning the Axl Rose hairstyle he's sported since fall camp for a more bizarre hairdo: cornrows. On Oct. 11, Fish tweeted a picture of himself with braided hair, promising he would go with that look for the Florida game if the picture got 1,000 retweets. A month and 1,047 retweets later, Fish says he's going through with it.

"That's what I said, so I guess I can't back out now," Fish said. "I'm going to wear it on Friday and if coach Spurrier tells me I have to take it out, I'll probably have to take it out."

"I did it as a joke at first - didn't think anything like that would happen, but I guess it did," Fish said.

And Fish isn't done yet. The placeholder said he doesn't plan to retire from Vine now that he's gone viral once, but that he's looking forward to trying to meet the standard raised by his best video yet.

"I guess this ranks No. 1 for sure, which we didn't expect at all," Fish said. "It's raised the bar a little bit. I don't know how long it's going to be before I make another one, but we'll try to figure another one up and see how big it gets."

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