When California offensive lineman Erik Magnuson committed to Michigan the fans were excited, but were still unsure of just what or who they were getting with the talented prospect. A 6-foot-6, 275-pound four star offensive lineman with around 20 offers from the biggest programs in the country typically means you have a star on your hands. His position on the field and geographic location however made it hard for fans to get a read on whether Magnuson was worthy of the hype.
Magnuson's head coach Sean Sovacool believes that Michigan is getting the real deal with Erik. "He's one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the country," he said. "That's his big selling point is that he's a real athlete. At that size, a full 6-foot-6 and 280 plus pounds he can run with just about everybody on the team. It's ridiculous how athletic he is." While Magnuson is slated for the offensive line at the next level he often tries to play defensive end, tight end, and even wide receiver sometimes in practice.
Coach Sovacool mentioned Erik's playful and fun side, but was quick to reply with how dedicated he is on the field. "He's a jokester and has a lot of fun, but he's got an edge, he's not afraid of anyone," he said. "He works his butt off and has that midwest blue collar approach. Always competitive, almost overly enthusiastic sometimes, very energetic. He's a big time kid." Magnuson was one of the few prospects invited to both the Army and Under Armour All American games, and chose to play in the Army All American game in January.
Sovacool had spent six years coaching at Palomar Community College prior to manning the La Costa Canyon High program. His experience there saw numerous division one athletes come through, but he still believes Magnuson is one of the best he's seen. "There's a few names that come to mind when you think about Erik. Outside of those couple guys though he's kind of in his own category," his coach said. "He has camp film online doing some drills and it's like are you kidding me? The footwork at his size is great."
The attention that high school prospects get compared to JUCO prospects is somewhat different, but Erik has handled it all in stride from what his coach can tell. "I don't think he could have dealt with all this any better. He worked hard, did his due diligence and made the choice," said Sovacool. "He was very responsible returning phone calls and emails, and he did a great job handling all that attention." La Costa Canyon and their coaching staff were used to the attention, though, with former players like WR Kenny Stills at Oklahoma and DE Ian Seau at Kansas State.They had been there before and knew what to expect with Erik.
The coaches had also heard the sales pitch from college programs before, and believe that there was one school that stood out above the rest. "Coach Ferrigno did a hell of a job recruiting Erik. I think they did the best job out of everyone," he said. "I know Coach Hoke and he did a very good job recruiting him. He's a real personable guy and that's a quality you have to have because sometimes you're more of a politician than a ball coach." The comfortability with the coaching staff ended up being a huge selling point for Magnuson, and the fact that they were honest with him really seemed to hit home. "They were being real with him, and you can kind of see the guys that aren't," said his coach. "It was can I play tight end? No. Can I return kicks? No, you're here to play tackle. Not that he was asking that but they were just real about it. They told him you're going to be a part of something special and Erik found that refreshing."
It was refreshing enough for Magnuson to commit to the Michigan coaching staff in person while on a visit to Ann Arbor. The decision was right for Erik and he knew Michigan was the place for him, even if it was his coach's rival school. "I'm a buckeye fan, I have family back in Ohio and they gave me a hard time about it, but it's all in fun," he said. "I called and emailed Ohio State three times about Erik and didn't hear a single thing back from them. I know sometimes they think West coast kids can't play but they're about to find out on Saturdays," his coach said. Erik was also kind enough to bring a Michigan t-shirt back from his visit for his coach, just in case he wanted to change sides.