“You realize that there’s no upcoming offseason, there’s no next year, there’s no next time to play in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.”
Damon Magazu East Carolina safety
By Nathan Summers
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Things start to look a lot different this time of year for seniors on college football teams as the inevitable end nears.
Even routine practice repetitions begin to take on a little extra meaning now, and even though there is still a great deal yet to be determined about the careers of East Carolina’s 20 seniors, one annual rite of passage will happen regardless on Saturday afternoon.
The Pirates’ final home game, at least for now, will mark the beginning of the end of 20 remarkably different journeys to the same football field.
“It means everything,” senior strong safety Michael Dobson said of his scheduled home finale on Saturday, when the 7-2 Pirates kick off against Conference USA foe UAB at 2 p.m. in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. East Division-leading ECU could still host the C-USA title game on Dec. 7, creating one more home finale like the 2009 Pirates did.
Like many others set to be honored, Dobson’s journey took an unexpected turn.
The Mount Airy native came to ECU as a highly-touted running back and rushed for 473 yards and four touchdowns mostly as a backup over three seasons before being asked to make the switch to the defensive backfield for his final campaign.
He didn’t just say yes and disappear. Dobson became the top reserve behind fellow senior Chip Thompson, and first-year ECU defensive coordinator Rick Smith claims if Dobson had spent his entire career at safety, he’d be an NFL draft pick.
“It’s my fifth year here and I’ve seen a lot of Senior Days,” Dobson said. “I see how special it was to them, and now that it’s mine coming up, I can feel how special (it will be). My parents are excited, my family is excited and of course we want to get the win in our last game in Dowdy-Ficklen.”
The ride has been a little smoother for free safety Damon Magazu, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone by in any less of a blur for the Charlotte native and three-year starter.
Magazu has delivered handfuls of magic moments already in his career, and while he doesn’t deny the team’s championship mindset and hopes for a home C-USA title game, he too senses the end of his ECU career.
“You realize that there’s no upcoming offseason, there’s no next year, there’s no next time to play in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium,” said Magazu, fourth on the team with 49 tackles to go along with a team-best three interceptions. “Hopefully we can get one more game with the conference championship, but (Saturday) is going to be an emotional day.”
Contact Nathan Summers at email@example.com or 252-329-9595.
via The Daily Reflector.