Ole Miss made another coaching move last week, adding longtime Rich Rodriguez assistant Calvin Magee to the staff as a tight ends coach. Magee, who spent last season as the offensive coordinator for New Mexico, had spent 12 of the previous 13 seasons coaching under Rodriguez at West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona. He now rejoins his longtime boss in Oxford.
Magee will play an important role in implementing Rodriguez’s spread option offense, but he’ll also be quite the asset on the recruiting trail. He knows what types of players fit well in Rich Rod’s system and how to go after them. Over the years, he’s compiled quite the list of elite recruits.
Let’s take a look at his accomplishments.
Magee brought big-time playmakers to West Virginia.
Before Rich Rod’s read-option concepts were being utilized in almost every playbook in the country, Magee was helping him accumulate the players that would make his offense go viral.
Steve Slaton was just a three-star athlete from Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania and rated as the No. 500 player in the country. Magee discovered him, signed him and turned him into one of the most dynamic running backs in college football history. 3,923 yards, 50 touchdowns and 31 school records later, Slaton was taken in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
But Magee wasn’t just digging up diamonds in the rough.
Five-star Noel Devine was a U.S. Army All-American and the No. 10 overall player in the 2007 class. Magee helped coax him to Morgantown over home state Florida and Florida State, Alabama, and Southern Cal, where he was among the most explosive players in recent memory, running a blistering 4.35 40-yard dash and having some of the best wiggle since Barry Sanders.
Even though Magee and Rodriguez left before Devine’s career really took off, those two working together to sign one of the most electric players in the country is a testament to their recruiting chops.
He kept the blue-chip train chugging at Michigan.
After joining Rich Rod’s Michigan staff as an associate head coach and offensive coordinator, Magee was a part of some remarkable recruiting classes. In 2008, the Wolverines signed four-star running backs Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw, who were both top-200 players nationally and top-20 players at their position.
Magee went on to sign three more four-star running backs before leaving for Arizona. Sure, the allure of Michigan helps, but he was able to sign elite players at running back year in and year out.
He was able to pull top talent to Arizona.
After arriving in Tuscon, Magee and the rest of the staff had to come to terms with the fact that they’d be heavily outgunned while trying to poach California players from heavyweights like USC, Oregon, and Stanford.
But Magee found plenty of success. In fact, all three of his highest-rated signees for the Wildcats were from the Golden State.
Nathan Tilford, a four-star running back from Ontario, Calif., was the No. 219 player overall in the 2017 class and chose the Wildcats over Michigan and Tennessee. Pierre Cormier, another four-star from San Diego, was the nation’s No. 11 all-purpose back and picked Arizona over Nebraska, UCLA, Utah and Washington State. Magee also went toe-to-toe with SEC programs Arkansas and Tennessee to land four-star Nick Wilson.
Wilson, the No. 13 running back in the 2014 class, had a monster freshman season for the 10-4 Wildcats, running for 1,375 yards and 16 touchdowns en route to setting the Arizona rushing record. He was fourth nationally among FBS freshman that year and No. 1 among Pac-12 freshmen in total yards, helping the Wildcats win the Pac-12 South and earn a Fiesta Bowl berth.
I fully expect Magee to be smack dab in the middle of some intense recruiting battles during his time in Oxford. He brings tons of experience, moxy, and closing power to a staff that needs all the recruiting help it can get. This is a quality get for Matt Luke’s staff.