Magee with something to prove in NFL combine

Following an Achilles heel injury in 2011's Fall Camp, the ever upbeat Brandon Magee vowed that his 2012 campaign will be better than ever. Observers chalked that talk up to wishful thinking, but the ASU linebacker delivered in spades on that pledge. As he prepares to strut his skills in front on NFL scouts this week Magee is once again brimming with confidence and eager to silence doubters.

Following his senior season at Arizona State, Brandon Magee stayed in the valley working six days a week at the PEP facility in Scottsdale. Flexibility, speed and footwork are some of the primary skills the linebacker is honing as he prepares to depart to the league's event in Indianapolis.

"One thing I really started to do is eat right and I noticed a difference in my energy," Magee described. "I noticed right way how much difference that has made. My diet has changed, I eat four times a day and I eat healthier. I already lost six percent body fat in just five and half weeks. My hips' flexibility, my stride length is better…I'm just in a lot better shape and everything is better now."

Magee said that he hasn't been clocked running the 40-yard dash yet, but he has been pleased with his speed in short distance drills. All in all, the linebacker is excited to put his speed on display for the NFL coaches and scouts.

"People say I'm slow and I don't know where that came from," Magee commented. "So I'm not even going to speak on that and I know I will have a great (40-yard) time in the combine."

One facet of the combine that Magee won't be able to participate in is the bench press due to an elbow injury he suffered during ASU's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl game.

"I'll be able to do all the other drills," Magee stated. "I did get my brace off two weeks ago and I'm working on getting my mobility back and it's looking real good. I'm just taking it day by day, week by week and we'll see if I can bench press at Pro Day (scheduled for March 8th)."

Magee's 6-0 228-pound frame may be aptly suited for a safety role at the next level, and ASU's outgoing senior admitted that he has heard NFL scouts mention that possibility.

"I'm hearing a lot of stuff right now," Magee said. "I'm hearing a WILL linebacker in a 4-3 system and also in 3-4 which I obviously played in (last season) at ASU. If I show them the speed and flexibility in the pass coverage drills at the combine then who knows if they don't move me to strong safety. I'm open for anything and do everything to help the team succeed."

In 2012, Magee led the Sun Devils with 113 total tackles (81 solo) and despite missing one game due to a concussion he finished the year second in the Pac-12 with 9.42 tackles per game average. He earned Second Team All-Pac 12 honors and posted 12.5 tackles for loss (6.5 of them sacks) in his last season in Tempe.

Magee, who was one of four team captains, was naturally elated to finish his ASU tenure in such impressive fashion and the fact that his best season in the maroon and gold is one that will be analyzed for prior to the NFL draft is naturally just an added bonus.

"That was the most important thing for me coming back from my injury – to finish on a high note," Magee explained. "I also wanted to give the Sun Devil fans something to be proud of. I thought we had let them down since I've been here, so I wanted to leave them with more wins than they are used to. I wanted to show them the different team mentality where we always give 100 percent, show them discipline, show them class on and off the field.

"It feels great leaving the program like that, and I know this program will be even better next year."

The linebacker was known to be one of, if not the best, ambassador the Sun Devils had last season. Even with his outstanding exploits on the field, Magee claimed that his off the field contributions are something he deeply cherishes and wants to be remembered by ASU fans even more for those contributions.

"As players we are held to a high standard," Magee explained, "so we are always judged by what we do off the field. We want to give the team good publicity around Tempe, talk to kids…just the little things. Being a football player isn't only about the game, but also about education and being a good person.

"Yup, that is how I want to be remembered."

Magee remarked that the new team culture change under first-year Head Coach Todd Graham, as well as the grueling workouts he underwent with Strength and Conditioning Coach Shawn Griswold, are factors that haven't only paid dividends for him last season, but something he feels that is benefiting him these days as he prepares for the next chapter of his football career.

"I work out at a facility where other guys are also training for the combine and their Pro Day," Magee noted, "and the way Coach Griz has worked us, and the way Coach Graham changed our practice habits where you sprint everywhere, always work hard…there is a big difference between me and the other guys that are there. The scheme we had at ASU, the drills we ran in practice are all NFL-based so I know what to expect in the combine.

"It really makes a difference as you are working out and trying to now make some money playing the game. Everything I did last year gave me a lot more knowledge than I really had."

Magee these days is on a mission to "wow the scouts" not only with his combine workouts but also with the numerous interviews that teams will conduct with him during that event.

"I know that if I will be myself it will all work out," Magee said. "I feel that the individual meetings I will have there will pay off huge for me. It will be great for me to sit down and get to know them and for them to get to know me, show them what I know about the game, show them how I played at ASU, and show them about my lifestyle."

One of Magee's closest friends, is his former high school and ASU teammate Vontaze Burfict. The embattled linebacker declared for the NFL draft last year following his junior season and due to poor performance in his workouts went undrafted. Nonetheless, after being picked up as a free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals, Burfict not only secured a roster spot with the team, but was also pegged as a starter and was one of the elite defensive rookies in the league.

Magee has obviously had several conversations with Burfict on what to expect in the NFL combine and beyond.

"He told me that I really have to be prepared," Magee said, "and that you are going to have to go through a lot of obstacle and still be able to perform at your best. So him telling me all this and cheering me on helps a lot."

The linebacker was drafted was taken three separate times in the MLB Draft before he signed a contract to play with the Boston Red Sox following his collegiate football career. However, playing baseball if the furthest thing from his mind as he anticipates his future on the gridiron.

"I feel that I have the talent to make it to the next level," Magee said, "and I want to see what happens when I'm committed 100 percent to one sport, and right now that's football.

"I'm hearing a lot of mid-round talk, third to fifth. I highly doubt that I won't get drafted. I think I bring a lot to the table. A team that will pick me will have a lot coming back to them in return."

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