Magee sets his expectations high

There is no reason to remind Brandon Magee how great this ASU defense is and how it should lead the team to a better year than last. The linebacker is well aware that coaches and fans alike are anticipating this group to be one of the best in the nation which falls right in line with his own outlook for the 2010 season.

The Arizona State linebackers' corps is the heart of this Sun Devil defense. Out of all the groups on this side of the ball it arguably receives the most accolades. Does this create pressure for this unit or swell them with even more confidence?

Neither says the 5-11 230 Brandon Magee. It just one more aspect of motivation.

"We have very high standards for ourselves," Magee explained, "and we have to live up to that or else we will look at it as a failure. We take (the accolades) as a challenge. I love it."

In his two years at ASU, the junior has collected 45 tackles, seven of them for a loss, and two sacks. As someone who isn't easily satisfied Magee isn't content with that level of production and has been targeting two specific aspects to center on during his preparations for the upcoming campaign.

"Film study and hustling to the ball every play," Magee stated. "If I do that it's going to be scary out there."

In high school Magee led Corona (Calif.) Centennial in sacks both in his junior and senior seasons. Along with Shelly Lyons and Vontaze Burfict he was part of one of the most talented trios of prep linebackers the state has ever seen. Lyons arrived in Tempe, along with Magee, in 2008 and Burfict joined the maroon and gold a year later as the highest ever rated prospect in Sun Devil history.

The play of those three linebackers has ignited the imagination of the Sun Devil nation, and the fact that Magee gets to play with his former high school comrades is something he will never take for granted.

"Every day I wake up with a smile," Magee confessed. "It's just a blessing. Playing out there every day with two other Centennial players? Who else can do that? That's a rare occasion."

While Lyons and Magee have had solid performances in fall camp, it hasn't been exactly smooth sailing for their good friend Burfict. The sophomore All-American started fall camp on the second team, suffered an ankle injury in the first few days and has had a hard time holding on to a spot on the first unit. Nonetheless, Magee sees his line mate as a more mature person when it comes to the game of football, a trait which should ultimately breed success.

"His focus is the biggest difference from last year," Magee commented. "He focuses on each and every drill, every assignment and is more serious about the game. All this will make him a better player."

If the ASU defense stays true to the saying ‘if it isn't broken don't fix it' not much change should be expected from that group this season. However, just like the players aren't complacent with last year's achievements which included being the Pac-10's top unit, neither are the ASU coaches who are devising some schemes which will make their debut this year.

"We got some stuff in the works," Magee said with a broad smile, "because we have a lot of athletes in different spaces. We are going to use everybody to our best advantage. I'm excited about it."

The athleticism of the ASU defense is coming in very handy this year since their offensive opponents have elevated the level of the Sun Devils on the other side of the ball. Day in and day out they are able to generally match Magee and his teammates stride for stride.

"Man, we got so many playmakers," Magee noted. "We have four playmakers just at one position – running back. The new JC receivers that came in are playmakers; we have young receivers playing well. We have a lot of players on offense stepping up this year."

Magee yearns to be an academic first team Pac-10 selection and in terms of other possible football honors he said: "I can't pick the rest but if they don't pick me that's their fault because I'm going to be out there doing my thing.

"I feel that myself and everybody else gave their all in camp on both sides of the ball. We can't wait for the season to start."

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