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Gators land USC Trojans transfer OL Jason Zandamela

On3 imageby:Keith Niebuhr05/02/24


One of the country’s top recruits in the 2024 recruiting class will now be a Gator.

Jason Zandamela, a USC Trojans transfer interior offensive lineman, has committed to Florida. He officially visited the Gators last Friday and Saturday.

“I really enjoyed my time (at Florida),” Zandamela said. “I’ve been here for a couple game-day visits but I never came on an official in my recruiting cycle. … I spent more time with the coaches (on this weekend’s visit). It was great.”

This is a significant pickup for Billy Napier & Co.

Zandamela is the No. 29 overall player and No. 2 interior offensive lineman in the On3 Transfer Portal Rankings. He is a native of Mozambique, Africa. But he attended Clearwater (Fla.) Academy International and entered the transfer portal recently with the intention of being closer to that area. Before visiting the Gators, Zandamela made an official to UCF earlier that week.

“Definitely being in college, I was 2,000 miles away from home. You’ve got to be close to your support system, ” Zandamela said. “A lot of people were like, “Jason, you’re not tough — he’s soft.” But I’ll probably do way better closer to my support system than 2,000 miles away. That was a big factor for me. I need to be close to my family. I need to be close to people I love. Just be the best athlete I could be. That’s a big factor. Relationships with the staff, relationship with the coaches. And just the opportunity I could get.”

Zandamela arrived in the U.S. in 2020. At the time he had never played American football. But before long, he had earned more than two dozen scholarship offers and was a high school Under Armour All-American.

Zandamela was the No. 6 IOL and No. 118 overall prospect in the 2024 class for the On3 Industry Rankings. He signed with USC last year and enrolled there in 2024.

He retains all of his eligibility.

Zandamela entered the transfer portal April 16.

Per, “At worst, though, Zandamela would have been a top backup option in a position group in sore need of more talent and depth. USC has to replace three starters along the offensive line after it lost Jarrett Kingston and Justin Dedich to graduation and Michael Tarquin to the transfer portal. Starting guards Emmanuel Pregnon and Mason Murphy are back, and there are some in-house options that have to step up at this point, but that’s from an offensive line that struggled last season.”

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