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The Final Cockdown: #77 Malik Young and #74 Mason Zandi

With some re-shuffling in store for the Gamecocks o-line in 2016, here’s two candidates ready to lead the way.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

We’re doubling down on the Cockdown this Sunday with a pair of in-state offensive lineman. Getting us started...

Malik Young

RS Sophomore
Offensive Line
6’4” / 298 lbs.
Pelzer, SC

Recruitment

Considered a three star prospect, the 23rd best player from South Carolina and the 47th ranked offensive lineman for his class. Coach Shawn Elliott and the Gamecocks gave him the most attention and his only D-1 offer, but he did get looks around the ACC from Clemson, Maryland and Duke.

College Career

After redshirting his freshman season, Young saw most of his playing time on special teams in 2015. He only made three appearances all season against Kentucky, UCF and Georgia, where he got his first action on the line against the Bulldogs.

2016 Outlook

While Young isn’t penciled in as a starter upfront for the Gamecocks’ offense, his frame and skill set allows for some versatility anywhere along the line. At the end of spring practice, he was listed as the second-string left tackle behind the gargantuan...

Mason Zandi

RS Senior
Offensive Line
6’9” / 308 lbs.
Chapin, SC

Recruitment

The near seven foot, 300 pound lineman wasn’t high on many schools list during his recruitment. Zandi’s only real attention came from Coach Elliott along with Clemson and East Carolina.

Coming out of Chapin High School in the midlands, he was considered a two star prospect, the 35th best player in South Carolina and the 145th best offensive tackle for his class.

College Career

Since redshirting his first year on campus in 2012, Zandi has steadily risen on the Gamecocks’ depth chart year after year to become one of the more important players on the Gamecocks’ offense in 2016. After seeing sporadic time both as a tackle and tight end in 2013, he appeared in every game in 2014 on special teams and served as a reserve lineman.

In 2015, he started the first 10 games of the year as the Gamecocks right tackle before suffering an ankle injury during the Florida game. Entering 2016, he has 11 total starts to his name.

2016 Outlook

As alluded to before, Zandi will serve as an anchor on the offensive line this season either at left or right tackle. He was listed as the starter on the left side at the end of the spring, but that could change before the Vanderbilt opener.

If he does line-up on the left side, D.J. Park will be looked to fill in the position on the right. With Zack Bailey next to him at guard, the left side of the Gamecocks’ 2016 offensive line could be one of the strongest sides of the ball for South Carolina this season.