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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, August 26, 2012

SCSU hopes that Magee will be next in long line of super backs


NEW HAVEN — Every season it seems like the Southern Connecticut State feature running back gets better and better.

Running back Rashaad Slowley may have been the best of the lot. Slowley gained 1,624 yards on 274 carries last season, scoring a school-record 27 touchdowns. He followed the likes of Jarom Freeman, who set the national record with 418 yards rushing in a single game and was one of five different backs to rush for at least 1,500 yards in a season in the past decade.

Vaughn Magee will be the No. 1
back at SCSU this season

Next up is Vaughn Magee. Talk about some big shoes to fill.

Magee is a junior from Mastic Beach, N.Y., who’s seen limited action in his first two years with the club. He has, however, made the most of his opportunities. As a sophomore Magee played in three games, finishing with 18 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns, including a 63-yard touchdown run.

Magee’s most extensive playing time in his first two seasons has come against Pace. Serving as a replacement in a pair of Owls’ routs, Magee looked explosive. He will team with J.W. Forte in SCSU’s new-look backfield.

“Magee and Forte are two solid backs,” SCSU coach Rich Cavanaugh said. “They both work hard and they understand the offense. They have speed and can run and catch the ball. They’re just solid players.”

Magee knows this is his opportunity.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this chance,” Magee said. “I’m not thinking about it as being the feature back. I don’t care about the numbers or all the hype. I just want to win.

“I haven’t played in a lot of games, but I’ve been working out real hard. I’m looking to come out strong and I think (as a team) we can really do it this year. I think every one is sleeping on us, but I think we’re going to shock some people. The whole team is out here to try and make things happen.”

Magee took a realistic approach to prepare for his new role.

“Honestly, what I did was eat a lot,” he said. “I came in at 175 pounds my first year and now I’m 203. I’ve done a lot of lifting and running. I watched how much pounding that (Slowley) took and he was around 210 or 215.

Magee maintained his quickness by attending speed classes three times a week. He said the last time he was timed he ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, and thinks he’s even quicker now.

Jack Mallis is also in the mix in the backfield. Mallis returned from offseason knee surgery necessitated by an injury he suffered in the spring game. Mallis looks to be the No. 3 back behind Magee and Forte. Mallis tore ligaments in his knee, but looked powerful at Monday’s scrimmage.

SCSU opens the schedule on Sept. 1 at Indiana (Pa.). The Owls were picked second in the Northeast-10 Conference preseason poll.

“I believe we can win it,” Magee said. “We just have to work hard and start fast.”

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