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The Final Cockdown: #74 Mason Zandi

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A lightly recruited local boy with only a year of field-tested offensive line experience, the gargantuan "Castle Zandi" has broken into the two deep. (BTW, I'm trying to make "Castle Zandi" a thing so roll with it, thx.)

The photo archive hates backup O-linemen.
The photo archive hates backup O-linemen.
Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Mason Zandi
Redshirt Freshman Offensive Tackle
6'9", 293 pounds
Irmo, S.C.

Recruitment:
2 stars, 155th overall offensive tackle in the 2012 class
Other offers: Clemson

College Career:
As has been our luxury with most freshman OLs, he redshirted in 2012. The developmental year was important for Zandi, who was considered a project prospect.

2013 Outlook:
I know what you're thinking. "Two stars? 'Viewed as a project?' These are not good signs." True, the "project" label can serve as a euphemism for "unlikely to ever see meaningful time." But with Zandi, it's a bit more legitimate. Mason only played one year of offensive line in high school, which explains why he didn't generate a heck of a lot of buzz as a recruit. But it's hard not to notice a behemoth blotting out the sun in your backyard, and the coaching staff took a look and viewed him as a worthy investment. So far, Mason's made the most of his opportunity, earning the Most Improved Offensive Lineman this spring and working his way into the two deep behind Corey Robinson. Should these positive signs translate into Mason becoming a sturdy pillar of the offensive line, it'd be yet another example of our staff molding an under-recruited prospect into a valuable contributor, a la Justice Cunningham and Dylan Thompson.

Trivia:
Mason Zandi is the tallest player on the team. Having seen him line up in spring game action, I can confirm that he is titanic and makes a guy like Nick Jones look utterly Lilliputian. Nickname suggestion: "Castle Zandi". No reference there, I just think it flows.

Social media scouting report:
Mason's a succinct tweeter, not relying on the stray "lol" or shorthand and rarely utilizing the full 140. He tweets you dead in the eye and calls 'em like he sees 'em. You don't have to agree with his tweet, but damn it, you've gotta respect it. (On second thought, he's 6'9", 300. You should probably go ahead and agree with it, too.)

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Sometime that just aggravates me, if your working hard you don&#39;t have to tell people, they should already know.</p>&mdash; Mason Zandi (@MasonZandi) <a href="https://twitter.com/MasonZandi/statuses/346133602951639040">June 16, 2013</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>You can take your souped up jacked up hi-tech truck, but me ill stay with my old Ford.</p>&mdash; Mason Zandi (@MasonZandi) <a href="https://twitter.com/MasonZandi/statuses/346012256699559936">June 15, 2013</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>If you are not absolutely nuts about your woman you are dead wrong.</p>&mdash; Mason Zandi (@MasonZandi) <a href="https://twitter.com/MasonZandi/statuses/345525370927333377">June 14, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Possible Todd Ellis play-by-play call:
"So after the penalty, it's third and long for the Gamecocks. Shaw takes the snap, rolls left, turns back, and dumps it off—it's a screen to Mike Davis and he's got blockers! And GOOD GRACIOUS, Mason Zandi just flattens Jordan Jenkins as Davis streaks for first down yardage! Boy oh boy, I guess Jenkins is the BURIED MAN LOW after ZANDI CAME AND GAVE WITHOUT TAKING!"