Magazu is ECU’s top chef – The Daily Reflector


“I really don’t follow any recipes because I like to try to make up my own stuff.”

Damon Magazu

On his cooking

By Nathan Summers

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Being a member of a college football team and having an affinity for cooking can be a dangerous combination, but Damon Magazu is a fearless sort of guy.

The East Carolina senior’s growing passion for preparing his own cuisine — and for posting photos of his food on social media sites — has understandably caused some growling stomachs among his ECU football peers.

“I always get texts from teammates because I put a lot of my food on Instagram,” Magazu said, noting that sophomore cornerback Rocco Scarfone is among the most frequent food-related texters. “Rocco will text me and ask me, ‘Hey, what do I do with the Italian sausages? How do I cook them for this?’ And (running back Vintavious) Cooper will text, ‘Yo, bring me over a plate.’”

Luckily Magazu, the starting free safety on the ECU football team, doesn’t mind sharing.

In fact, he’s dished out some of his best fare to roommates and former Pirate players Andrew Bodenheimer and Justin Venable.

“It’s kind of developed over time,” Magazu said of his culinary interests. “My mom always cooked during the football season because my dad (a veteran NFL assistant) was working, and during the offseason my dad would cook. I’ve always been around cooking and just watching them cook and learning different things.”

That foundation in good food didn’t fizzle when Magazu got to college, like it can for many kids.

“When I got to college, I was sick of buying fast food, and when I finally moved into my own apartment and had my own kitchen, I started just trying new things,” said Magazu, whose main passion is the wide world of pasta. “I really don’t follow any recipes because I like to try to make up my own stuff. Sometimes, I’ll just go look in the fridge and see what I’ve got and see if I can make a good meal out of it.

“I enjoy cooking because it’s relaxing. If I’ve had a long day, I’ll take my time and cook a meal and sit down to see what I came up with.”

The other kind of dishing Magazu likes is the one he’s been doing almost his entire life, and he’s on the cusp of his final season doing it with the Pirates.

The hard-hitting Magazu has lassoed 190 tackles in three seasons, including 80 each in 2011 and ’12. Last season, however, the Charlotte native simply couldn’t cover enough ground to help the defensive backfield around him, and the Pirates coughed up 275.7 pass yards a game.

The termination of ECU coordinator Brian Mitchell at the end of the season and the hire of former Pirate defensive backs coach Rick Smith as the team’s new coordinator could give the unit the rebirth it needed.

“Part of being a football player is being able to adapt, and coach Smith has shown that his philosophy works,” said Magazu, who will always be remembered for his game-clinching overtime interception against N.C. State in ’10. “He was here when ECU was winning championships, and coach Ruff brought him back to win championships. With him running the defense everyone is buying in. The entire defense would run through a brick wall already for coach Smith. He’s that good of a guy and he’s obviously a phenomenal coach as well.”

In terms of rebuilding the fragile confidence of the secondary, Magazu said the outlook is good.

“More than half of football is mental, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to play slower and you’re not going to have as much confidence,” he said. “If you know what you’re doing and you believe in what you’re doing and believe in what the coaches are coaching you to do, you’re going to play faster. We’re excited to get out there and prove that we can play great defense.”

Contact Nathan Summers at or 252-329-9595.

via The Daily Reflector.