Zandi finds inspiration on and off the field
Mention Chapin High School senior Mason Zandi in a conversation and one image will come to mind: a 6’ 8” giant of a football player who recently turned heads at both Clemson and Carolina and verbally committed to USC for a full scholarship.
“What really makes Mason special is his potential due to his young age,” defense coordinator Scott Stogner said, “he’s very fast and coordinated for his size, and the coaches have four years to make him bigger, stronger, and better.”
While it is clear that Zandi is a dominating force come game time, not everyone knows what goes on behind the scenes. He practices between two and four hours every day but he says that if he did not have his family and God he never would have made it this far.
“My family is always there to support me and help me when I need them,” Zandi said. His track and football teammates can testify for his love of God.
“One thing I’ve really noticed about Mason is how openly he talks about God. He said something at our track banquet about how God is his inspiration for everything and I think that’s great,” senior Lannon McCoy said.
What really sets Zandi apart from other football players and students is his determination. His drive transcends across all areas of his life, not just athletics.
“I don’t know what exactly I’m going to do when I’m older, I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years, but I’m going to make sure that whatever I do I’m good at it. I’ll sacrifice everything but my family and my religion,” he said. Such great determination can be hard to find in someone so young.
While his love for football takes up a great amount of time, Zandi loves to hang out with friends and go fishing. He will be majoring in International Business at USC so he is interested in travelling.
“After I graduate college I want to spend 10 years in Europe. I was raised in SC and in school we learn about all of these places but I’ve never seen them. I would like to travel and see the world like my dad did,” Zandi said.
Europe is a far plane ride from Chapin but that is several years from now. Closer in the future is graduating CHS. Of course he will miss his friends but Zandi said he will also miss Principal Akil Ross.
“I love Mr. Ross. He’s a major mentor in my life because he did what I’m going to do. He played Division I football and I really like to hear what he has to say.”
Something different about Zandi is his interest in people.
“Everyone has their own story, their own life. Everyone has wisdom to offer. I like to know what makes them who they are,” he said.
He really values what other people have to say and takes their words to heart.
“My dad always used to tell me that if you have a dream, don’t ever let it slip through the cracks,” Zandi said. Clearly he has kept those words in mind as he has progressed throughout his football career.
Zandi knows that sometimes it’s difficult to keep your eye on the prize. In order to stay on track he saves inspirational quotes in the notes section on his phone.
“Regardless of the amount of love you have for something, at some point you will start to lose that passion. You have to go back to the foundation and remind yourself why it’s so important to you. Inspirational quotes can help remind you. I have quotes from Ross, Stogner, anyone really. I write down anything that alters my perspective in a positive way.”
With so much talent it would be easy to assume that Zandi wants to be remembered as one of the greatest football players to come from Chapin, but he says he would rather be known as helpful.
“I want people to remember me as the best server ever. I want them to know that I did everything I could for my track team, football team, teachers, and friends. I tried to do everything I could for them.”