In this profile we are looking at linebackers and we talked to our good friend Brad Denny of the House of Sparky , a site who covers everything about Arizona State. We took a closer look at inside linebacker Brandon Magee from the Sun Devils. The two sport star is a pure athlete who provided some good years for the Sun Devils.
Tale of the Tape
Class: RS Senior
Weight: 234 lbs.
40 time: 4.68
Potential Positions: OLB, ILB
What is the back ground story of Brandon Magee getting to Arizona State?
ASU has had a pipeline to Centennial High School in Corona, CA for a while now, and Magee was a part of that influx. Prior to his Achilles injury prior to the 2011 season, the entire starting linebacking corps were Centennial alums, along with Vontaze Burfict and Shelly Lyons (fun fact: that prompted Magee to change jersey numbers to 8, so the lineup would wear Nos. 6-7-8). Being a two-sport star, ASU’s always excellent baseball program was a factor, but being with several of his high school teammates and friends was a primary reason.
What did Magee mean to the ASU football team?
After Brock Osweiler left for the NFL after the 2011 season, Magee inherited the unofficial “face of the program” title and deservedly so. While he’s been an excellent player on the field for the Sun Devils, Magee has been even better off of it. His leadership ability is top notch, he’s a model citizen, and he’s a very polished and engaging speaker who the program featured in just about every media opportunity throughout the year. On the field in 2012, while consensus All-American Will Sutton was the star of ASU’s great defense, it was Magee who was the clear heart and soul of the unit. He was a guy who would have two or three huge plays per game, and usually always notch double-digit tackles.
What are some of the attributes that give Magee a chance in the NFL?
Magee is a player whose production has always been greater than the sum of his parts. That’s not to say that he’s not talented—he’s a very athletic player with very good speed, strength and athleticism. He’s a plus defender in pass coverage, and this past year showed that he has some good pass rushing skills. But what will serve him best in the NFL are the intangibles. I mentioned his incredible leadership ability earlier, and he’s a relentless worker who does anything for the good of the team and builds chemistry in the locker room. He’s a very intelligent player with good on-field awareness that helps to compensate for the physical disadvantages against elite competition. Ultimately, Magee fits in that role of the popular hard-nosed, blue-collar ‘backer that every team needs.
What are some weaknesses in his overall game?
The first thing that will jump out to scouts is his size. He’s listed at an even 6-foot and 228 pounds, which at the NFL level is what you’d expect from a safety, not a linebacker. That in turn brings on legitimate concern as to whether he might be enveloped by the massive offensive linemen. Magee also has good, not great, athletic ability, and it remains to be seen that with his development if that can translate from the Pac-12 to the NFL.
Do you see him strictly as 4-3 outside linebacker or could he adjust to a 3-4 scheme?
Throughout this past season, ASU’s new defense featured multiple fronts, alternating between 4-3 and 3-4 looks, and with his work ethic and intelligence, he could be a factor in either set. His best spot,—schematically—is likely as a weakside linebacker in a 4-3, where his speed and coverage ability could best be utilized. However, I think that he could also be effective as a situational inside linebacker in a 3-4, using his pass rushing skills in a poor man’s way that the Steelers use Lawrence Timmons up the middle on passing downs.
Where do you see Magee’s future in the NFL?
As a pro, I think that Magee’s size may limit him from being a starter, but with his skills and off-the-chart intangibles, it’s hard not to see him make a roster and develop into a top reserve/situational linebacker, ideally in some nickel schemes. He also should be a key special teams player. In fact, I think Magee could become a Pro Bowl-caliber special teamer in a few seasons. One thing I’ve learned about Magee during his ASU career is that no matter how difficult the circumstances, it is unwise to count him out. If your team has a pick in the sixth round, he’s a great value.
Special Thanks goes out to Brad Denny for his help and you can follow him for all things Sun Devil related on his twitter account.