USC Gamecocks Football

South Carolina alum Zack Bailey headed to Florida for first NFL shot

What South Carolina’s Zack Bailey hopes to accomplish at NFL combine

South Carolina Gamecocks football player Zack Bailey is now at the NFL combine, hoping to show off his skills after a broken leg ended his college career.
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South Carolina Gamecocks football player Zack Bailey is now at the NFL combine, hoping to show off his skills after a broken leg ended his college career.

Former South Carolina offensive lineman Zack Bailey was hoping a broken leg late in his senior season wouldn’t prevent him from being drafted.

He didn’t hear his name called Saturday in the 2019 NFL draft, but reportedly landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s right after.

Moments after the draft ended, multiple outlets, led NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero ‏reported Bailey would head to Florida. He confirmed it to The State soon after.

“It’s a huge relief,” Bailey said. “I love this game and to have this opportunity, this is every little kid’s dream. Now my dream has come true. It’s really amazing no matter what.

“I’m going to do the best that I can.”

Bailey said it wasn’t the easiest going through the past few days waiting to hear his name, but he tried to enjoy a process he’ll only get to go through once.

He said Tampa seemed like an ideal landing spot when he looked at the depth chart, who they drafted, the location and a few other factors. He said it presented the best opportunity for him.

Bailey started 46 games across his career, playing guard, tackle and center. He was primarily a guard, his natural position, and played the spot his sophomore and senior seasons. He moved outside to tackle at the team’s request and was an injury fill-in at center as a true freshman.

He was part of a Gamecocks line that has taken steps forward the past few seasons.

He put up 24 reps on the bench press at the NFL combine and had a vertical jump of 28 inches. He was limited in running because of the broken leg suffered in the regular season finale against Akron.

He noted the location was a good one, not too far from South Carolina and in the same state as a set of grandparents. And there was another appeal.

“It’s Florida,” he said. “You’re in the Sunshine State. ... Great weather.”

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