Huskers search for linebackers heads west

There are a number of positions the Huskers will look to fill with the class of 2008. With a quarterback now committed and the big red boasting one of the best offensive line classes in the country, one might argue that linebacker is one of the most needed positions. It's a good year for them, and Nebraska hasn't stopped looking and going after some of the best. One of the latest is Brandon Magee.

There are going to be a few arguments as to just which position Nebraska should focus is on now, what with the recent commitment of quarterback Blaine Gabbert, adding to a class which is already laden with some of the best prep offensive linemen in the country.


With Nebraska losing the entire starting defensive line to the NFL, that would be an easy position to lobby as being the most important. But the linebacking corps is going to have some issues of its own. The Huskers lost starting SAM linebacker Stewart Bradley, to the draft. And after this season, they will lose four more linebackers, all who have starting experience. That's a hell of a void to fill, and while there's talent to be found, there's not much in the way of experience.


You can't recruit experience, but depth can sometimes be just as good, which is why the search for this very valuable position continues. And while names like Brown and Major seem to be on the tips of everyone's tongues as the must-gets of the year, Nebraska hasn't sat on its laurels in finding as many quality players for the position as they can.


The latest offer to a potential standout linebacker went west, this time to Centennial High School in Corona, California, and to an athletically gifted youngster by the name of Brandon Magee.


Standing 6-0 and weighing just over 220 pounds, Magee doesn't wow you with his size, but if you can't be big, big quick. "That's my biggest strength, I think,"  Magee said of his quickness. "I play linebacker, but I spend a lot of time blitzing off the edge."


Doing that as well as sticking to the regular duties of outside linebacker in the 3-4 system run at Corona, Magee totaled 53 tackles, including 3.5 sacks last year. That was made more impressive due to the fact that he missed the entire first month of the season with a wriest injury. Even with those limited opportunities, Magee managed to earn honorable mention all-state for underclassmen.


The injury is what it is, though, and it was enough to quell the potential recruiting attention, even if just for awhile. But since he became 100 percent healthy, the letters have started to come, and written offers as well.


"I've got five right now," Magee said of his written offers, coming from Louisville, Arizona, Nebraska, SDSU and Idaho State," Nebraska offered me just this week."


As a west coast kid, you wouldn't expect Magee to have a lot of knowledge about the traditional Midwestern power. But it's that very tradition which Magee said he knew all about even before the offer had arrived. "I was excited about that offer for sure," Magee said. "I have seen them play a couple of times and they are all hyped up. They play aggressive and they play down-to-down."


That style appeals to Magee, as he thinks of himself as a down-to-down player, looking only to the next play and not to the previous one, whether it was bad or good. "It doesn't matter how good or how bad the last play went, it's not going to help you make the next one," he said. "You finish that play, forget about it and move on. You get too down on yourself or to happy with yourself on a play, you are not going to do too much good for the entire game. You just play down-to-down."


There's another mental aspect to the game Magee prefers, and that fits perfectly well with the side of the ball he's on. It's a mind-set that says to you, no matter what the offense won't win. "You go into the game with the idea that they aren't going to get a first down. Even if we are playing at their place, it's our field and you can't take it from us," he said.


"And if they happen to make a play, forget about it and say that for the rest of the game they aren't going to get an inch. I think that's how you have to approach the game."


Magee approaches recruiting a little differently, deciding to take a more reserved role in evaluating his choices and thinking about where he'd like to go. He realizes it's still early in the recruiting, and he's opting to take it in stride. But he knows for certain what the most important criteria for him will be, wherever that place ultimately is. "It has to be like a family," Brandon said. "Yeah, I want to win and it has to be a team that wants to be, but you do that by being like one. That's what it has to be like for me – from the coaches to the players to the fans. It just as to be a place that feels like another home."


To this point Magee said that he hasn't made a single unofficial visit. And due to baseball playoffs and the rigorous summer, which can hardly be considered an off-season anymore, he's not sure that he'll make any in the future. But he'll make the official visits, and you can count at least the four Division 1-A offers he has as those most likely to get them. But he knows and even hopes things will change. "There isn't one school that I like more than another, but you want to have as many choices as you can have," he said. "I am getting letters from schools like Arizona, USC and Cal, so it would be nice to be able to consider them too."


Even if the big names in the local area coming calling, Magee said that he won't count anyone out at this time. "Part of me thinks that I want to stay close to home, but part of me wants to explore," Magee said regarding the importance of location. "There isn't one school that I am waiting for, so I am keeping a really open mind."


As to Nebraska, he knows about their history, but said that he wants to learn about who they are now. "I haven't talked to any of the coaches there, so that's obviously something I want to do," he said. "I guess they just saw my film and then came the offer. Hopefully I can talk to some of them soon."


Magee is ranked as the #3 weakside linebacker in the west by


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