July 12, 2012
This is part of a series spotlighting the players attending C-USA Football Media Day, July 25 in Dallas. Interviews from the event will be streamed live on ConferenceUSA.com.
As the lone returning starter in the secondary, Damon Magazu will be looked to provide leadership along with skill to the East Carolina defense. Last season, he helped that unit show great improvement and this season the Pirates hope that continues and pays off with a return to the postseason.
11 DAMON MAGAZU, EAST CAROLINA
Junior DB 5-11 203 (Charlotte, N.C./Providence)
Overview: The Pirates' only returning starter in the secondary ... Became entrenched as ECU's top free safety as a sophomore and coaches feel performance, plus added leadership responsibilities, should thrive during junior campaign ... An energetic, assignment-sound and well-schooled defender who continues to enjoy a fast-track rise, now climbing from a starting role to honors candidacy after an impact-producing true freshman performance in 2010 that included a game-winning interception against N.C. State in an emergency start ... Initially opened Pirate career as a strong safety, but made move to the free position on a full-time basis in the spring of 2011 ... Selected as a third-team preseason All-Conference USA performer by Phil Steele's College Football Preview Magazine ... Was recently slowed by a lower back injury suffered at the end of the second week of spring drills (2012) that forced him to the sidelines for the remainder of the practice period, subsequently causing him to miss the last two scrimmages ... Sports medicine personnel indicate a full clearance was expected during the early summer ... Collected a pair of tackles in his only intra-squad contest (March 31) ... Strength testing numbers of note include a 460-pound back squat, a 345-pound bench press, a 286-pound power clean and a 1,150-watt jerk.
2011: Did not disappoint in first season as a full-time starter, becoming an anchor in the Pirates' secondary ... Played and started all 12 contests at the free safety position, booking team second-best totals with 80 tackles and 36 solo hits, trailing only Jeremy Grove's 122 and 45 ... Earned defensive unit's "Rock Roggeman Heart of the Pirate Award" as most inspirational player during team's postseason banquet ... Tallied 44 stops on rushing plays, good for the fourth most on the squad, and ranked third with 28 tackles on passes ... Tallied seven or more hits six times (eight/South Carolina, seven/Virginia Tech, eight/Houston, nine/Navy, eight/UTEP, 12/UCF) ... One of only six Pirates to finish a game with 10 or more tackles during the season ... Became an important piece to ECU's special teams' units in the second half of the season ... Ended the campaign with eight special teams' stops (seven kickoff returns, one punt return), tied for the third most on the squad ... One of only four players with seven or more hits on kickoff runbacks ... Paced the Pirates with four interceptions (Virginia Tech, UAB, Tulane, UCF), all collected inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... Tied for fourth in Conference USA, and 23rd among all FBS players, with 0.33 interceptions per game ... Also the East Carolina leader with a trio of fumble recoveries, gaining one against UAB, UTEP and Marshall ... Stood fifth in the league, and 19th at the FBS level, with 0.25 fumble recoveries per game ... Became the first East Carolina player with three or more fumbles recovered in a year since 2009 (3/Levin Neal) ... Responsible for 33.3 percent of opponent turnovers (seven of 21) ... Tied for second on the squad with 51 tackles (22 solo) during Conference USA action while leading the unit with three interceptions and all three fumble recoveries ... Finished third on the team with 29 stops in non-league play ... The second-leading tackler during the final six games of the year, collecting 44 hits (7.3 tpg) and a team second-best 21 solo knockdowns ... Tallied 36 stops in the initial six games of the campaign ... Against UCF, booked a career-high and team-leading 12 tackles, making eight in the first half ... Intercepted team-leading fourth pass of the season versus the Knights, picking off Blake Bortles' toss into the endzone on UCF's final play of the game ... All five career interceptions have been at home ... Tallied six tackles during the first half at UTEP with four during the Miners' last drive of the second quarter ... Credited with first career pass breakup against the Miners, knocking the ball away from Russell Carr ... Recovered second fumble of the season, and second of career, during the fourth quarter at UTEP, scooping up a Mike Edwards loose ball ... Intercepted third pass of the year during the third quarter against Tulane and returned it a personal-best 22 yards to the Green Wave 48-yard line, setting up an ECU field goal ... Registered nine tackles with a career-high seven solo hits at Navy ... Intercepted UAB's Bryan Ellis in the end zone during the second quarter, keeping the score knotted at 7-7 ... Versus Virginia Tech, picked off a Logan Thomas pass in the corner of the end zone for a touchback ... Interception was named ESPN SportsCenter's No. 3 play of the day ... Credited with three tackles during the fourth quarter against the Hokies ... Booked eight stops against South Carolina in the season-opener, tallying three hits on Gamecocks' first 12 plays of the contest.
2010: One of only three true freshmen to experience action ... Played in all 13 games and started one, at free safety against N.C. State ... Recorded 30 tackles (14 solo), one interception and a forced fumble ... 30 stops were tied for the 11th most on the team ... A valuable member of the special teams, who led the unit with 14 tackles ... Tied for the squad lead with 11 stops on kickoff returns ... Three punt-return hits were tied for the second most on team ... In one start, sealed the Pirates' 33-27 victory against the Wolfpack, intercepting a Russell Wilson pass in the endzone during the overtime period ... Booked season-high six tackles against NCSU, including three in the fourth quarter ... In addition to the Wolfpack tilt, credited with multiple stops versus Memphis (two), Virginia Tech (three), Marshall (four), Navy (four), UAB (three) and SMU (three) ... Wrapped up freshman season with a solo tackle against Maryland ... Made one stop versus Tulsa, North Carolina, Southern Miss and Rice ... All three hits against SMU came in the second half ... Forced first career fumble against Navy, knocking the ball away from Kriss Proctor in the fourth quarter ... Tallied three-of-four stops in the final frame against the Midshipmen ... Booked a year-high three solo hits versus Navy ... Debuted in defensive backfield against Virginia Tech, tallying first two solo hits ... Experienced action in the secondary a week later at North Carolina.
High School: A three-year starter and team captain for head coach Randy Long's Panthers ... Played defensive back and receiver, and added punt return duties for Providence ... A three-time Southwestern 4A Conference honoree ... Capped career by being named Southwestern 4A Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year after tallying 11 pass breakups, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries ... Named to the Charlotte Observer's Preseason All-State Team ... As a junior, intercepted 11 passes, including four against Myers Park ... In addition, booked 124 tackles, seven pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 2008 ... Rated by ESPN.com as the 140th-best athlete in the nation ... Recorded a time of 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and possesses a 36-inch vertical leap ... Also was a point guard for the Providence basketball team and averaged 13.3 points as an all-league player last season.
Personal: Full name is Damon Angelo Magazu ... Nickname is Mags ... Born January 6, 1991 at Terre Haute, Ind. ... Son of Dave and Carrie Magazu ... A marketing major who earned selection to the ECU Dean's List (3.5 grade point average or higher) for classroom work during the spring and fall semesters of 2011 before following with an Honor Roll (3.0) standing in the spring of 2012 ... Father currently serves as the Denver Broncos' offensive line coach ... Older brothers Anthony and Dominick both played college football - the former as a quarterback at Kent State, the latter as a wide receiver at Appalachian State ... Says former Clemson basketball standout Demontez Stitt is the best athlete he's ever played against (in prep basketball game) ... Lists Brian Dawkins as favorite NFL player and Sam Mills as most impressive person he's met in person ... Most enjoyable summer job was working for the Carolina Panthers ... Had to adjust to a well-traveled childhood, living in six different states growing up ... Has cliff diving and bungee cord swinging on list of accomplishments.