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Magner wants shot at the NFL

Colony High grad signs with agent, prepares for draft

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2005

FAIRBANKS - Snow flew across the field of the empty Doyt Perry Stadium on Wednesday in Bowling Green, Ohio. Cole Magner flew across the same field for four seasons as a wide receiver for the Bowling Green State University football team.

But the only flying the Colony High School graduate did this week was on a plane to Chicago to meet with his agent and prepare for a possible career in professional football.

He signed recently with Jeff Flanagan of BTI, whose clients include Khary Campbell, a Washington Redskins linebacker and former Bowling Green teammate.

"It's an agency that does only football and that was a big plus," Magner said Monday from Monterey, Calif., where he was visiting his sisters Amber and Leah, who, respectively, are the head coach and an assistant coach for the California State-Monterey Bay women's basketball team. "He (Campbell) said they could be trusted and that they're great people."

Magner, 22, hopes a National Football League team will trust him to be productive enough to earn a roster spot. He said scouts from the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets have inquired about him.

There was talk over the past two seasons that he could be a middle-round selection in the NFL Draft in April.

He's strong, versatile, and willing to go over the middle of the field to make a catch, despite the risk of getting hammered by a safety.

"It's exciting and a little bit scary to have reached this point, knowing that I may get a shot (at the NFL)," Magner said. "It's up to me to get into a (training) camp and do well."

His career statistics confirm that he can be productive, as he compiled 206 career receptions for 2,317 yards and 18 touchdowns.

This season, despite early season injuries that limited his effectiveness, Magner led the Falcons of the Mid American Conference with 68 receptions for 678 yards and six touchdowns, and his average of 6.42 catches per game ranked 19th among NCAA Division I-A receivers.

His junior season, which he had a school-record 99 receptions for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns, was proof that he had potential for the next level, said Bowling Green wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, and his attitude will also help him get there.

"His No. 1 intangible is toughness - he's by far the toughest receiver I've had," Azzani, a fourth-year member of the Bowling Green coaching staff, said Monday from Miami, Fla., during a break in a recruiting trip.

"He always knew where the ball was going to be and he was going to get it. I haven't seen a copy of the tape (of the GMAC Bowl), but there were a couple of catches where he went right after the defender rather than go out of bounds after making the catch."

Magner also remembers one of those catches in the Falcons' 52-35 win over the Memphis Tigers in the bowl game on Dec. 22 in Mobile, Ala. It was also his last reception in a Bowling Green uniform.

Bowling Green was ahead 35-28 and facing a first down and 10 yards to go from the Memphis 30 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter. Falcons quarterback Omar Jacobs - who led the nation this season with 41 touchdowns - threw a screen pass to Magner and the 6-foot-2, 197-pound receiver carried it 14 yards for another Bowling Green first down and to set up Jacobs' 13-yard scoring strike to P.J. Pope for a 42-28 lead for Bowling Green.

Magner's helmet came off when he was hit by the Tigers defender after Magner made the catch.

"I chose not to go out of bounds and I took a good hit," said Magner, "but I was pretty psyched because I had a good hit on my part because I was trying to run over the guy."

If an NFL team chooses Magner during the two-day draft, it will get a versatile athlete who has played running back, punter, punt returner and quarterback. During his sophomore season, he completed three of five passes for three touchdowns.

"I'd like to go to any team," said Magner, "and I think my best shot of playing as a rookie will be on special teams, because I have the ability to play a lot of different things - wide receiver, punt returner, backup quarterback or defensive back. They'll get a couple of draft picks with one draft pick."

That team also will get a very productive athlete.



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