Maguire starts slow, finishes strong

QB Sean Maguire (Chase Photography)

While West Orange (NJ) Seton Hall Prep QB Sean Maguire didn't throw the ball as well as he would have liked in the morning Monday at Camp Jimbo, he warmed up in the afternoon heat.


Steve Chase (Chase Photography)
West Orange (NJ) Seton Hall Prep quarterback Sean Maguire gets ready to fire during Monday's afternoon session at the Jimbo Fisher Football Camp.

West Orange (NJ) Seton Hall Prep quarterback Sean Maguire didn't come all the way to Tallahassee this week to get an offer from Florida State. He had one already, with the Pirate verbally committing June 3 to the Seminoles.

Instead, Maguire attended the Jimbo Fisher Football Camp for the chance to get some extra work with his soon-to-be coaching staff, perhaps giving them a glimpse of what they'll be seeing under center come 2012.

A little on the lanky side at close to 6-3 and an even 200 pounds, Maguire has the kind of frame that will easily support an extra 10-20 pounds once strength and conditioning coach Vic Viloria runs him through the ringer.

"They told me I'd be 215 right at the end of my freshman year," Maguire said Monday after the second of two practice sessions on the intramural fields.

Before the Seminoles came buzzing, Maguire was fielding a fair amount of phone calls from Boston College, Alabama and North Carolina State, with UConn also in the mix.

"Chris Weinke was great," he said when asked about his favorite FSU passers, referring to the 1999 national champion and 2000 Heisman Trophy winner, "and obviously watching Christian Ponder the last couple years, too."

During positional drills in the morning session, Maguire showcased a nice over-the-top delivery of the ball that produced consistent flight and a tight – not Warren Moon-tight, but tight – spiral. However, he has a tendency to make himself smaller by pulling down with his left shoulder prior to release, suddenly shrinking a 6-3 QB closer to 6-1. First, coach Jimbo Fisher instructed him to keep that left shoulder steady and not allow it to fly open prematurely, and later quarterbacks coach Dameyune Craig noticed that his feet were too wide before the snap, contributing to some inconsistent drops.

But in terms of simply getting the pigskin from A to B in a hurry, Maguire appears to have more than enough juice in his right arm to succeed at the collegiate level.

"I would say the smarts, the accuracy," he said when asked to give a scouting report on himself. "I know the arm strength is there, but just controlling the game and winning. Definitely, winning is the most important thing. At my school, as a starter, I've been 21-3. So, definitely, winning is the most important thing to me."

His primary ball carrier this past season, Kevin Monangai, is heading to Villanova after a record-setting career at Seton Hall, so while Maguire spent a lot of time as a junior just handing off, his senior season should put his arm on display more often.

"We had a 2,000-yard rusher last year who actually left the school as the all-time leading rusher," he said. "He was great. We still got to throw. We still threw it a decent amount of the time, about 10-15 times a game. [This] year, I've been told to get ready to throw about 30 times a game, so I'm looking forward to that."

In the morning, splitting time with a handful of other signal callers, Maguire completed two of four passes in on-air drills, two of three in 1-on-1 and then three of four in 7-on-7. He was off target on a few occasions, including on a post-corner route that was caught but noticeably underthrown. However, he felt much better in the afternoon, connecting on all eight of his attempts. He was especially impressive in one-on-one action, as he wrapped two perfect fly patterns around an NFL-quality out route.

And it sounds like he'll be a whiz in the film room, as he had no trouble answering X-and-O questions.

What's your favorite route combination for, say, twins left?

"Just crossing routes is the easiest," he said. "You get the outside guy running about a 12-yard post and the inside guy running a post-corner, it's really hard for even a high school team to defend."

So what's your read on that play?

"You see the safety over the top at first, and then you see if the corner is pressed or not. And you see which way the safety goes. If the safety stays over the top and covers the post, then you obviously go post-corner. If he comes down to stop it, then the post in the middle of the field is going to be wide open."

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In all likelihood, Florida State would like to sign two quarterbacks in the 2012 class, which further clouds the crystal ball and makes it difficult to determine if Maguire will ever be the starter for the ‘Noles. No question about it, he stands out at a camp like this and looks to be one of the best players on the field. While he may never be the kind of jaw-dropping prospect that drives message-board traffic from coast to coast, so far he's proven to be a winner, a hard worker and, maybe most importantly, quite an affable young man.

"He's a good kid, isn't he?" Fisher rhetorically asked me, just after I shook hands with Maguire and he began his long trek back to Smith Hall.

Yes he is.


John Crist is an NFL analyst for Scout com, a voter for the Heisman Trophy and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.

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