BATON ROUGE, La. — For as long as Adrian Magee has been at LSU, Garrett Brumfield has been there to push him.
A third-year sophomore from Franklinton, La., Magee came to LSU as a familiar name with noticeable talent. The cousin of former LSU running back Terrence Magee, Adrian arrived on campus as a 4-star lineman capable of mauling in the interior as a guard or using his 6-foot-5 frame to slide outside to tackle.
Magee’s talent was evident. If not to everyone, it was certainly evident to Brumfield, then a redshirt freshman one year removed from being in Magee’s position. Brumfield starts for LSU at left guard now, but at the time he felt as if he might’ve missed an opportunity to play sooner.
He didn’t want Magee to feel that way, too.
“Since Day 1, I’ve seen a lot of potential in Adrian,” Brumfield said. “I just wanted to make sure he maximized it and felt comfortable out there.”
Magee tells the story a little differently.
“He stays on me about things,” Magee said of Brumfield. “He was like ‘It happened to me. I got passed up. You don’t want it to happen to you.’ So I was like ‘Alright.’ Then he stays on me about every little thing I do. Playing in the hallways or taking a bad set, he’s like ‘Adrian, you’ve got to do better. I don’t want you to get passed up. I don’t want you to get passed up.’ Him being there for me has really been a help.”
Brumfield’s guidance reached a nexus point last week when LSU played Auburn. For the first time in his LSU career, Magee started, filling in for the injured Toby Weathersby at right tackle. Of course Brumfield was there too, giving Magee pointers from across the huddle and on the sideline.
But at this point in his career, Magee is doing things for himself. Earning starts on the offensive line is more about impressing offensive line coach Jeff Grimes during a week of practice than it is anything else. And after a self-described bad week of practice leading up to the Florida game, Magee said he practiced well enough before the Auburn game to earn the job.
Magee said Grimes told him the news in confidence and asked him not to ‘get too much of a big head.’ The sophomore joked what Grimes was really saying was to keep the news off Twitter. Magee took Grimes’ advice, then played himself a pretty great ballgame. Pro Football Focus graded Magee as LSU’s best offensive lineman versus Auburn with a grade of 79.9. By comparison, linebacker Devin White made 15 tackles and graded out with a 78.2.
Are there places for Magee to improve? Absolutely. He said he has to get better at reading blocks, showing double teams, keeping his pad level low and making sure his hands are in the right place. But technique is something that develops over time. Effort, on the other hand, is in Magee’s control, and he said Grimes complimented him on his work ethic after the Auburn game.
Coming off his strong performance, Magee said he expects to keep playing, even when Weathersby and left tackle K.J. Malone return from injury. Provided he keeps practicing well, of course.
“If I keep working hard, I’ll probably be in a rotation with those guys,” Magee said. “But there’s no telling. I expect them to come back. But when they do come back, hopefully I’ll be fighting for a position.”