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The Final Cockdown: #78 Zack Bailey

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The Final Cockdown continues as we look at quite possibly the most talented offensive lineman the Gamecocks have moving forward.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Bailey

Sophomore
Offensive Line
6'6" / 313
Summerville, S.C.

Recruitment

Zack Bailey is one of the parting gifts the old staff left to Will Muschamp and his bunch. The Summerville native played for legendary head coach John McKissick at Summerville High School and was a four-star prospect according to 247 Sports, Rivals and ESPN.

Bailey was one of five finalists for South Carolina's Mr. Football award during his senior year in 2015.

He chose the Gamecocks over a long list of schools, including Georgia, Florida and Wisconsin, but it ultimately came down to USC and Clemson with Bailey deciding to join Carolina on National Signing Day.

College Career

Some thought Bailey may redshirt when he arrived in Columbia. Not only did he not do that, he played a significant role for the Gamecocks in 2015.

He played in all 12 games as a true freshman, including five starts. Bailey moved closer to the action when center Cody Waldrop hurt his ankle. Another ankle injury shoved Bailey into the lineup at Georgia when Alan Knott had to leave the game.

Bailey would make his first career start against UCF and then go on to start against Missouri and Vanderbilt at center. He ended his season with two starts against The Citadel and Clemson after Mike Matulis suffered an injury.

At the end of the year, Bailey earned 2015 SEC All-Freshman honors from the league's coaches.

2016 Outlook

Bailey is one of the most versatile lineman South Carolina has entering this season. He's made starts at guard and center, despite never playing center before arriving in Columbia.

With a healthy slate across the line at the moment, Bailey seems set to start at left guard this year.

Muschamp and Shawn Elliott have raved about Bailey in offseason workouts. The offensive line will be indescribably important to Muschamp in year one and the sophomore may be the most talented player on his first line at USC.