Corona Centennial coach watches players grow up

THE BIG HUSKY: Junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict smiles as he exits the field during a scrimmage in August. Burfict is one of six current Sun Devils who played football at Centennial High in Corona, Calif. under coach Matt Logan. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

Southern California has always been a recruiting hot spot. For the Sun Devils, however, their recruiting zone seems to be getting a little more specific.

Six current players on the ASU football team — seniors Brandon Magee, Shelly Lyons and Angelo Magee, junior Vontaze Burfict, sophomore Will Sutton, and freshman Michael Eubank —are all from the same California high school: Corona Centennial.

The State Press caught up with Corona Centennial coach Matt Logan to talk about the players and the rare situation that exists now that all six are in one place.

State Press: Michael Eubank and Will Sutton are the youngest of the six. While Eubank is expected to redshirt this year, Sutton figures to play a prominent role. Can you talk about him a little bit?

Matt Logan: William was a great player for us. He grew tremendously and was a great student of the game. I love the fact that ASU was one of the few Pac-10s that came on to him, even though he was a little bit shorter. I think he will prove a lot of people wrong that doubted him because of his height.

SP: What about the three linebackers?

ML: All three are great, hard-working players. They all took different paths. Brandon Magee had never played football before he got here. He was really green, so green in fact that we would talk about this is where the tackle is and he would look at me and say, “Coach, what’s the tackle? Where’s the tackle?” I think his potential is still out there and he has come such a long way from high school to ASU. He practices so hard and plays with such great intensity. He is going to be a great player.

Shelly was kind of a chubby kid and he has worked so hard in the weight room to get where he is now. He is a real smart player and a big student of the game.

Vontaze has thrown a football around on our field since he was seven or eight. His older brother played for me and he has always been around our program. What a great instinctive player he is. It is a lot of fun to watch him play. I really think this year is going to be a spectacular year for him, because I think he has matured a little bit and will be able to control himself while still playing at the same intensity level.

SP: When your players come to your team, what separates them? What makes these six D-1 players rather than just high school players?

ML: Their size and their speed. They have a work ethic that goes along with their talent. You might not have expected them all to play at that level, but it is just a testament to how hard they’ve worked.

SP: How special is it that you have six players from one high school on the same team?

ML: It’s awesome. It’s fun to watch. Just about every game is shown here so we get to watch them. I’m sure there are a lot of recorders set on Saturday afternoons and Saturday nights to watch the ASU games.

SP: So you are able to watch them play, but how often do you see them or stay in contact?

ML: When they are in town they usually come by and say “hi.” Depends on what is going on, but we usually talk through text message. If I am in Arizona — I haven’t been out there for a while — but last time I was out there we all met and went for dinner, so that was kind of fun. It’s great to watch them all progress and increase their maturity level.

Reach the reporter at william.boor@asu.edu