Magee ready to prove doubters wrong

Are you surprised that no ASU players were selected in this year's NFL's draft? So is the Sun Devils' 2012 leading tackler. Yet, for the ever motivated Brandon Magee last weekend's events are nothing more than fuel the former ASU linebacker feels will aid him to succeed at the professional level, as he's set to join the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.

"It feels outstanding," Magee said of his impending signing with the Cowboys. "Before the draft, I didn't hear from any team that I was going to be signed in free agency. But getting passed up by 31 teams…that's a bad move for them.

"I was disappointed not getting drafted, but to see how interested the Dallas Cowboys were in me, and pay me that kind of bonus – it does make me feel very appreciated."

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported that the former Arizona State linebacker will receive a guaranteed $70,000 contract from the Cowboys, which is more than any seventh-round pick had received in 2012.

The Cowboys were one of the pre-draft trips taken by Brandon Magee and the 5-11 223-pound linebacker was excited about that visit at the time, as he proudly tweeted a picture taken during that trip with owner Jerry Jones.

"I had a great visit with them and I felt that they would draft me," Magee stated. "Things happen for a reason. Once I went there I knew I was going to be a Cowboy. I'm really happy to be part of this organization.

"They changed their defense to a 4-3, Tampa 2 look. (Defensive Coordinator) Monte Kiffin is a defensive mastermind, and the linebackers coach (Matt Eberflus) is great. When I start minicamp, they're going to have me at MIKE and we'll see from there. I played all three positions in the 4-3, so that scheme is a lot easier for me. I'm just going to go in there and do what I do."

Some will certainly debate if the "America's Team" moniker given to the Cowboys decades ago still holds true, but there is no denying that this a team which in constantly under the spotlight every year. The outgoing Magee doesn't mind being part of such atmosphere.

"With that great coaching staff, the great facilities and Jerry Jones," Magee commented, "The attention is always going to be there. I like it and I also like how so many ASU players played there. It's pretty cool."

As the draft was winding down, Magee said that Dallas was one of "15 teams" that contacted him saying that they wished to sign him as a free agent is he wasn't selected.

"After the draft was over it was a bidding war," Magee recalled, "and it was up to me to choose the best situation. I wanted to go to a place where I thought I had the best chance of making the team and getting to play next year. Dallas was the best option for me so I took it.

"I bought a bunch of Cowboys hats for my draft party. I was ready to be a Cowboy."

Magee added that the Cleveland Browns were the other team he was seriously contemplating before settling on the Cowboys.

When the draft was over Magee claimed that while his friends and family were surprised he wasn't selected, that none of them felt sorry for him either, knowing that he was guaranteed to be signed as a free agent. Consequently, Magee didn't throw himself a pity party despite being placed in a predicament he wasn't expecting.

"Nothing was ever given to me," Magee explained. "Not in football, not in baseball, not at ASU. I wasn't surprised. It was just another chapter of my story. I can overcome anything."

In the 2012 draft, Magee's good friend, and former high school and college teammate, Vontaze Burfict, was dealt the same fate during the NFL draft. His subsequent free agent signing with the Cincinnati Bengals ultimately yielded great dividends as the linebacker earned a starting spot and was one of the AFC's top defensive rookies, let alone one of his team's standout defenders.

In the past, Magee always expressed his deep sense of pride for Burfict's accomplishments. These days, Magee is drawing inspiration from the path his former teammate took as he also begins his NFL journey as an undrafted free agent.

"Before I signed with the Cowboys," Magee said, "I talked to my agent, my brother Angelo, and I called Tez too about who to sign with. We are both the same type of player. When you doubt somebody so much…that just makes us play harder. I'm ready to go."

Magee is scheduled to report the Cowboys' rookie minicamp on May 10th, and he could sign his free agent contract before then.

Magee collected 113 total tackles (81 solo) in 2012, including 12.5 tackles for loss. He admits that he was "shocked" that no player from an 8-5 ASU team was selected in the draft, but probably like the other Sun Devils who eventually signed free agent contracts, the linebacker is ready to move forward and put last week's experience in its proper perspective.

"I couldn't tell you what went wrong," Magee confessed regarding the draft. "But we're going to make the Sun Devil nation proud. The draft is over and means absolutely nothing. You want to know why? Because everyone now has to go to mini camps and everyone has to prove it on the field and we'll see what happens there.

"That's the way I see it."

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