Just ask Arizona State redshirt senior linebacker Brandon Magee. He and the other 16 seniors will run out of the Tillman Tunnel at Sun Devil Stadium one last time Saturday against Washington State as the Devils look to break a four-game losing streak and become bowl eligible with their sixth win.
It’s been a bittersweet week for Magee who has come back strong this season with a team-leading 83 tackles (7.5 for loss), 5.5 sacks, and two interceptions after missing the entire 2011 season with a torn Achilles tendon.
“I shed a few tears for the first time on Tuesday,” Magee told Brad Cesmat on ‘Big Guy on Sports’ Thursday. “It was a little rough. All the hard work I put in on that Sun Devil Stadium field. To know that’s the last time to step on that field is something else.”
For Magee the future is wide open whenever the 2012 ASU season comes to a close. Drafted in the 23rd-round of the Major League Baseball draft last summer by the Boston Red Sox, Magee says, for now, his choice is pro football.
“I’m focused on these last three games,” Magee explained to Cesmat. “After that, I’m training for the [NFL] Combine. I just love the game. I’m too far in [football] just to stop. The Red Sox gave me the opportunity to do it so I need to pursue it.”
He’s hoping to follow in former ASU linebacker and close friend Vontaze Burfict’s footsteps. After a controversial three-year career in Tempe, Burfict went undrafted this spring before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent. He has excelled under head coach Marvin Lewis and is now the starter at weak side linebacker.
“His mentality [in Cincinnati] and the way he plays the game has changed,” Magee said describing Burfict. “He’s a lot smarter player right now than he was. I love watching him play. He had a lot of distractions [at ASU].”
Magee said his fondest Sun Devil memory was beating UofA in 2010 and hopes to return the favor again next week in Tucson.
“I love the negative people. The best part is knowing somebody hates you and they still have to watch you [play well]. Some of the [UofA] fans even talked about my stepbrother who lives in California. I don’t even know how they knew about him.”
For now the focus is Washington State on Saturday afternoon. Senior Day kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. with television coverage on the Pac-12 Network.