Arizona State linebacker Brandon Magee entered training camp with a lot of eyes on him. But, more specifically on his Achilles tendon, which he injured entering last year causing him to miss the entire 2011 season.
Fast forward 12 months and Magee, the recently-named team captain and face of the program, is just happy to be back on the field.
“It was exciting. The whole game was exciting,” said Magee. “I was excited to be back out there with my teammates and as a defense we did really good.”
Magee did his part in the Sun Devils’ 63-6 rout of Northern Arizona, providing the highlight of the half with a 45-yard interception returned for a touchdown. The fifth-year linebacker read NAU quarterback Cary Grossart perfectly, dropping back in coverage and making an athletic grab before charging into the end zone.
“I dropped back and he just threw me the ball and I just ran with it,” said Magee. “I saw a lot of open space and I saw a guy trying to tackle me from the left and I gave him a stiffie and then I ran to the end zone like I’ve been there before.”
But, Magee was not interested in personal praise, giving the Sun Devils defense all the credit.
“[It was my first interception returned for a touchdown] in life, honestly,” said Magee. “It felt good. But I’m just happy we won as a team. I don’t care what I did.”
The Sun Devils’ next game will be a rematch against Illinois, the team that handed them their first loss last season. Magee understands the Illini will provide a greater test for ASU’s defense.
“I felt as a defense we had a lot of plays we did really well but also had some minor mistakes we have to correct,” said Magee. “Coming into Illinois we can’t make those mistakes because Illinois is a lot better ball team and we have to be in the film room a lot more this week and we have to have a great practice tempo to get better every week.”
As for the Achilles injury everyone was wondering about, Magee laughed and said it wouldn’t be a problem.
“My Achilles felt great,” said Magee. “Coming into camp I had some on and off days, but today I felt outstanding. It’s not bothering me right now. We’ll see how I feel when I wake up [Friday] morning but I’ll be out there next week to get another W.”