Local college notebook: Dover’s Magee excited about switch to defense with Owls

Former Dover High QB Jordan Magee (51) is now a linebacker as a freshman at Temple. Temple sports information photo

DOVER — Jordan Magee just remembers the noise on the first play of his college football career.

The former Dover High standout was lining up for a kickoff return for Temple in a game at East Carolina last fall.

“ECU is probably one of the loudest stadiums I’ve been in because of the way it’s built,” said Magee. “Of course it was packed so it was hard to hear when I got on the field. It was exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

“I’d been working for this my whole life,” he said. “I got to go out there and perform.”

There weren’t too many moments like that last season for Magee, who saw action in only four games last fall as a true freshman linebacker at Temple.

But he’s excited about the prospect of seeing a lot more playing time over the next four seasons.

After all, the former second-team All-State quarterback is only starting to show what he can do as a linebacker after switching to defense last pre-season. Magee did play some defense, mostly at safety, for the Senators.

“I’m still getting used to it now,” he said. “Being a (former) quarterback, it helps having seen the defensive side of the ball, breaking down coverages and such. I feel like that has helped me a lot during the transition.

Jordan Magee

“I always had a natural love for defense,” Magee added. “There’s just something about defense. You hear that saying, ‘Defense wins championships’ and it’s very true.”

Given his situation, Magee really could have used spring practice this year. But the Owls got in only a couple practice sessions before school was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Since then, Magee has focused on the mental part of playing linebacker during Zoom meetings with Temple’s coaching staff.

“I was looking to showcase what I’ve been training for,” he said. “I was just starting to get the hang of stuff and then it got cut short. You’ve been working out this whole time just to have it taken away.”

One thing Magee has been able to work on is adding some weight to his 6-foot-3 frame. Listed at 210 pounds last year, he’s up to 221 with his eye on getting to 230.

“It’s just a lot of eating and also working out,” he admitted. “I still watch what I eat.”

There are some big differences between playing safety and linebacker — especially with footwork. Magee is anxious to get back out on the practice field and really start working on things.

Like most college athletes, though, Magee doesn’t know when he’ll be able to return to school. In the meantime, he’s been working out in Dover with several other former Senators who are playing college football.

They’re all in the same position.

“We’re still working,” said Magee. “They’re my brothers. They’re always going to be my brothers.”

Hearing from the best

If there’s a silver lining to Delaware missing spring football practice, it’s that the Blue Hens’ QBs have heard from some of the program’s all-time greats in their Zoom meetings.

Some of the guest speaks have including Rich Gannon, Bill Vergantino, Scott Brunner, Andy Hall, Pat Devlin and Tom DiMuzio.

Current UD quarterback Nolan Henderson had heard all the names growing up.

“My dad had season tickets and he would always speak of these former quarterbacks and then they’re popping up on my screen speaking to me,” the Smyrna High grad said on Bluehens.com.

“To be able to speak to those guys that you emulated and thought of as the heroes of Delaware football, and to actually be able to have dialogue with them and ask questions of them, is really special and something I truly appreciate.”

Delaware quarterback Nolan Henderson enjoyed hearing from some of the Hens’ all-time greats. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

Blue Hen offensive coordinator Jared Ambrose had been wanting to get the former QBs involved with the program even before the pandemic. Henderson, for one, thinks he learned a lot from the talks.

“I have about 15 pages of notes that I’m going to study and try to put into my game,” he said. “Just hearing from them has given me a different perspective of the position and the things that I need to be looking at. Really, I’m just excited to be back. I can’t wait to get back on the field.”

Notes

• Wesley College has initiated a “Wolverine Standard” Teammate of the Year award for each of its athletic programs. The honor goes to a player who “inspires his/her teammates, keeps morale up in practices/games, and demonstrates the characteristics befitting a Wesley College Wolverine. They should demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship, character and commitment to their team.”

The first award winners include Caitlynn Shacklock (women’s soccer), Luis Cruz (men’s soccer), Hanna Giaccone (women’s lacrosse), Connor Davis (men’s lacrosse), Brittany Bishop (field hockey), Shymere Vessels (football), Brooke Retkowski (softball), Jordan Marucci (baseball), Allison Mills (volleyball), Ian Thorne (men’s cross country/track), Evelina Sloboh (women’s cross country/track), Tolu Babalola (men’s basketball) and Katelyn Watson (women’s basketball).

• Delaware safety Kedrick Whitehead, the former Middletown High standout, was a second-team selection on the HERO FCS pre-season football team. The junior posted a team-high 102 tackles last season.

• Delaware State women’s bowling coach Elysia Current has signed high school recruits Alyssa Breidegam (Reading, Pa.), Kiley Hackbart (Bristol, Pa.) and Saralyne Nassberg (Modesto, Cal.)

The Hornets must replace three seniors from their 2019-20 roster, including National Tenpin Coaches Association first team All-America and MEAC Bowler of the Year Alexis Neuer.

• Delaware has signed seven new players, including a pair of transfers, to its volleyball program.

Transfer Michaela Putnicki played at both Penn State and Colorado State while Katie Turner is coming to UD from Missouri.

The Hens’ high school recruits are Pearce Augier (Charlotte, N.C.), Claire Flood (Landisville, Pa.), Amelia Painter (Pottsville, Pa.), Lily Rogers (St. Louis, Mo.) and Savannah Seemans (St. Mark’s).