ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill Welcomes Back 14 Returning Starters, 50 Lettermen
Fourth-Year Head Coach Reviews Spring Drills, Talks About Current State Of Program
Pirates Keep Preparation Efforts On Course For Saturday's Scrimmage
ECU vs. Ohio (USA Today Gallery)
East Carolina vs. Louisiana - R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - AP Photos (12/22/12)
AP Photos: East Carolina vs. Houston
AP Photos: East Carolina at North Carolina
One of three senior returning starters in the Pirate secondary ... Expected to bounce back from a nagging back injury that sidelined him during the spring and assume the top free safety job during fall camp - a position he's held for the past two seasons ... Has embraced and thrives in a leadership role, and is considered as one of the most respected players on defense, if not the entire program ... An energetic, assignment-sound and well-schooled defender who has enjoyed a fast-track rise during his career, climbing from a starting role to honors candidacy after an impact-producing true freshman performance in 2010 that included a game-winning interception against NC 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 second-team preseason All-Conference USA performer by Phil Steele's College Football Preview Magazine ... Strength testing numbers during the spring were limited by his back injury, but previous lifts of significance include a 460-pound back squat, a 345-pound bench press and a 286-pound power clean.
2012: An All-Conference USA performer (honorable mention) after standing second on the unit with 80 tackles (44 solo) ... Also produced the third-highest pass breakup total (six) ... One of eight defenders to net a pass theft during the year, intercepting a Marshall throw on the Herd one-yard line in the fourth quarter during the season finale ... Extended active streak with multiple tackles to 25 games with an eight-stop (season-high seven solo hits) performance vs. UL-Lafayette in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl ... Tied a career-best with 12 tackles (five solo) against Navy ... Booked five or more stops in nine contests ... Credited with pass breakups against Southern Miss (1), UAB (1), Houston (3) and UL-Lafayette (1) ... Fifty-one of the 80 stops came on rushing plays, which ranked second on the team ... Also had four tackles as a member of the special teams unit (1/kickoff return, 3/punt return) ... Topped all tacklers twice during campaign - nine vs. UTEP and 12 vs. Navy ... Ranked among the C-USA leaders in total tackles (33rd) ... An integral member of a defensive unit that held four opponents to less than 100 yards rushing (USM/91, UAB/82, UH/28, TUL/9) ... Other notable efforts came against Appalachian State (8 tackles), Southern Miss (7), UCF (7) and Marshall (7) ... Garnered preseason all-league accolades from CollegeSportsMadness.com (second-team) and Phil Steele Magazine (third-team). Miscellaneous: Has played in 38 career games with 25 starts and been credited with 190 tackles (94 solo) in three seasons ... Has booked at least one tackle in 30-straight contests dating back to Nov. 6, 2010 vs. Navy ... Posted multiple tackles in 32 of 38 games and has tallied double-digit stops on two occasions (UCF `11, Navy `12) ... Earned two program awards during team's annual post-season banquet - defensive back-of-the-year and team captain-of-the-year.
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.
Personal: Full name is Damon Angelo Magazu ... Nickname is Mags ... Born January 6, 1991 at Terre Haute, Ind. ... Son of David and Carrie Magazu ... A marketing and supply chain management 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 springs of 2012 and 2013 ... 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 Boston College and 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 ... Enjoys dabbling with different cuisines and efforts in the kitchen are well-regarded.