By Frankie Mansfield
At 6 feet, 8 inches and 265 pounds, it’s been hard for Chapin fans and their opponents to miss Mason Zandi on the Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines.
Next season, Zandi’s hoping it will be hard for South Carolina fans to miss him, too, as he trades Chapin’s blue uniform for Gamecock garnet and black. For Zandi, verbally committing to the Gamecocks this past summer was “a dream come true.”
But Zandi also wanted to make sure he left Chapin’s program in the right direction.
“Of course our first goal is to win games, but I also wanted to make sure I had laid the right groundwork for the younger players to step up and take the reins when I’m gone,” Zandi said. “That could mean coaching them on the field or helping them in the classroom. Just making sure everyone’s head is on straight.”
Chapin head coach Justin Gentry says Zandi’s leadership and work ethic are things his teammates have counted on all season.
“He is just a really hard worker,” said Gentry. “He is willing to get in there and give it his all and do whatever is asked of him.”
Zandi shined on the defensive line as a junior. But as a senior, he’s also had the challenge of playing offensive line as well, which is where he is projected to play at USC.
“We explained to him how far things could go offensively and what doors could open playing offensive line,” Gentry said. “He jumped right on board and said he’d do whatever it took to win.”
Zandi worked hard in the weight room during the summer, adding 25 pounds and getting stronger and faster. He plans to repeat his training regiment this summer to get ready for the transition to SEC football.
“God gave me these skills and put me on earth do something special,” he said. “Over the next couple years I just want to work hard, help my teammates succeed and make my family and town proud of me.”
Zandi says he likes playing offense and that he’s learning more every day.
“I’ll do whatever my coaches need me to do,” he said. “Who says you can’t blow people up on offense too?”