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Pitt FB Recruiting

2024 Florida OL Jason Zandamela Blessed to Receive Offer From a Team Like Pitt

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Jason Zandamela felt a rush of emotion after being informed by his head coach that Pitt had offered him.

Zandamela, a 2024 offensive lineman from Clearwater Academy International in Florida, shared the offer with his teammates, and he learned that Pitt had put together a pretty good 2021 season — much like Clearwater Academy’s own season.

“One of my teammates said (Pitt was) also ranked the 17th best team, and I was like, ‘there’s no way I just got offered by them,'” Zandamela told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I was just very happy.”

Pitt was actually even better than that, finishing the season as the 13th-ranked team in the country, and Zandamela officially added Pitt to his prior offers from Florida State, Virginia and eventually Indiana.

Zandamela, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound lineman, just completed his sophomore season at Clearwater, helping to fuel the Knights to a four-game win streak to conclude the season with a state championship.

With his first major college offer coming from Virginia Tech during the season, Zandamela’s recruiting process has already picked up since the season came to an end. Florida State and Indiana have already extended offers, and after a talk with Pitt safeties coach Cory Sanders, Zandamela was offered.

“It was very good,” Zandamela said. “I felt very welcomed. I didn’t really speak to him for that long, but I have a feeling that coach Sanders is a great coach.”

Sanders spoke with Zandamela for a bit, and then he spoke with his coach for a bit longer as Sanders spent the day at Clearwater Academy with the football team.

However, Zandamela’s knowledge of Pitt extends back into this season with Pitt defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado, a former Knight himself, who attended a practice.

“A Clearwater Academy alum that’s at Pitt right now, Haba, he came to one of our practices last season,” Zandamela said. “He was talking about the school in general and what he did to get there, and I feel very blessed to receive an offer like a very talented guy like Haba.”

An offensive lineman by trade, playing as a left guard in Clearwater Academy’s offense, Zandamela’s quickness for a guy his size is impressive, and he’s still able to overpower defensive linemen and linebackers alike in plowing ahead to block for runners or step back and block for the quarterback with his athleticism.

While it’s still very early in Zandamela’s recruiting process, with his entire junior and senior seasons left to complete at Clearwater Academy, Pitt has definitely stood out already. And he said it’s definitely helpful to have someone like Baldonado around to help.

“It was huge,” Zandamela said. “I was very surprised that they offered me. I was, like, almost crying — not almost crying a little — but I was just happy that I got the offer.”

As it’s still quite early in his process, which Zandamela said has been strange but good thus far, he’s still unsure of whether he’ll be making a visit up to Pittsburgh. However, he said he might after talking over any decisions with his coaches in the future.

With a 6-foot-3, 260-pound frame already, Zandamela still has plenty of time to continue to build his body for college football and refine his craft in anticipation. More and more offers will continue to roll in, but Pitt is one of the first to jump in on a rising talent.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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