January 13, 2008

Centennial linebackers commit to Sun Devils

One day after Ryan Bass committed to Arizona State while on his official recruiting trip to the school, teammates Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee followed suit in a Sunday meeting with head coach Dennis Erickson. The three Corona (Calif.) Centennial teammates will sign with the Sun Devils on Feb. 6.

"Ryan committed on Saturday because he and his family drove in and they were going to leave really early on Sunday," Lyons said. "Me and Brandon met with coach Erickson earlier today. We were just talking to him and he told us to make the decision based on what we want to do. So we told him we wanted to come to Arizona State."

Lyons, a 6-foot-1, 215-pounder is slated to play either the strong side or middle linebacker position, while Magee, at 6-foot, 225 pounds, will likely wind up on the weak side.

Magee is the No. 23 ranked outside linebacker in the class by Rivals.com and No. 38 recruit in California. Lyons is unranked, but he had a very strong showing in the second half of last season and is considered to be a late-blooming prospect with substantial upside.

Several regional coaches we've spoke with have said they believe Lyons to be as good or better than Magee as a football prospect. Magee is also an elite baseball prospect. He expects to play both football and baseball at ASU.

"They said I could play both sports," Magee said, acknowledging it factored into his decision. "They just want us to come in and be ready to compete for a spot early."

Lyons and Magee were hosted on their trip to ASU by cornerback Omar Bolden, and left Tempe raving about the school and community.

"I really liked it," Magee said. "The facilities, wow. The people and coaches were great. Everything was. I knew that's where I wanted to go yesterday after talking to the linebacker coach and hearing everything he had to say. He told us he needed us to come in there with speed at linebacker and be ready to go."

"We toured the school and saw everything and talked to the players," Lyons said. "Everything was real cool. The dorms was nice, the city was nice. We went out at night and it was real fun. It's a really good place."

When Lyons and Magee committed to Erickson, the Magee said their future coach was "fired up about it."

"He was just like, giving us congrats and saying welcome," Lyons said.

"He was real happy," Magee said. "He welcomed us to the team and said they had things going in a real good direction and were going to get better a lot."

Magee said that believes he needs to improve his SAT score by around 100 points in order to be a full qualifier at the next level, but that he is confident he'll be able to do it. He's scheduled to take the exam again in the next month.

The Centennial players are close friends with teammate and fellow linebacker Vontaze Burfict, considered to be among the nation's top underclassmen defensive prospects. Burfict, 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, is the No. 17 recruit in the class by Rivals.com.

"We talk about football all the time," Magee said. "We're already talking to him about ASU. It's a good chance he goes there. It's still early for him though."

Burfict led Centennial with 130 tackles on the season. Lyons had 101 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions, one fumble recovery, three passes defended and two quarterback hurries. Magee had 86 tackles, 7.5 sacks, five quarterback hurries, two fumbles recoveries and one pass defended.
Arizona State now has 24 committed players in the class, including mid-year signees.

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