If it matters this year, that means trouble for South Carolina and its offensive line, but I was struck Thursday by how much offensive line coach Shawn Elliott likes redshirt freshman Mason Zandi.
A defensive lineman at Chapin High School, Zandi was considered a two-star recruit by most recruiting services. At 6-foot-9, 295 pounds, Zandi was the definition of a project.
As the backup left tackle behind Corey Robinson, Zandi is quickly starting to meet that potential, Elliott said.
“Mason is doing a great job, a fabulous job,” Elliott said. “He’s so tall so he needs to gain a little more weight. We have to work on getting his hips low so he can get under rushers. They tend to get under him a little bit because of his height, but I am very pleased with him. I love his work ethic. I love everything about him.”
Zandi spent one year as an offensive lineman in high school but that lack of experience didn’t put him behind teammates who spent more time on the offensive line in high school, Elliott said.
“You have to start from scratch with everybody that comes in here, you really do,” Elliott said. “You don’t know what they’ve been taught in the past and you don’t ask. You don’t take time to see. You start from scratch. He’s got to get better, but he’s on the right track.”