Maguire looks to defy odds, earn NFL opportunity

(Photo: Kevin A. Koski / NFLPA)

Sean Maguire’s chances to play didn’t come in 2016, as he was under center in just a few of Florida State's games and threw 12 passes. The quarterback competition that he was hoping for instead ended with his mid-August foot injury.

But Maguire did enough on the field to impress the NFL scouts, including helping FSU to a home win over Clemson in 2014 and a road victory over Florida in 2015. He completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 2,039 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his FSU career.

Now Maguire has graduated and is beginning his pursuit of a pro football career. An NFL longshot? Yes, without a doubt. But the former FSU quarterback caught the eye of a few personnel men and is enjoying his opportunity in practices at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Calif., a game for college seniors on Saturday at 4 p.m. (Fox Sports1).

“The head of the NFLPA bowl (Tony Softli) looked at my tape from 2015 and understood my circumstances in 2016 and wanted to give me a chance,” Maguire said. “I couldn’t be more grateful.”

The NFLPA’s game isn’t nearly as prestigious as the Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine Game. But like those showcase games, scouts from every team watch the NFLPA game's practices in southern California.

And Maguire is being coached by a former NFL quarterback, Jim Zorn, who was a longtime NFL assistant and coached the Washington Redskins for two seasons.

“The whole experience has been awesome, learning from guys like coach Zorn,” Maguire said. “A lot of great coaches on our team.

“He’s a football genius as a player and as a coach. He understands both sides of it. And obviously I’m taking my knowledge and everything I’ve learned from coach (Jimbo) Fisher at Florida State and how it translates to the next level.”

Maguire has spent time with the coaches in practice but he’s also had the chance to sit down with NFL scouts and discuss his future. He won’t be at the NFL combine in March, but a few weeks later will work out for scouts at FSU’s pro day.

“I’ve talked to a bunch of scouts,” Maguire said. “They all seem to know my situation. Everyone told me the same thing as far as how big pro day is going to be, how sharp I need to be at pro day to get a chance.”

Maguire feels well prepared for Saturday, where he’s one of three quarterbacks on his squad. While the number of plays he has seen was limited at FSU, he was able to soak up knowledge in the quarterbacks room for the past five years that is invaluable moving forward.

“Everything I’ve learned from coach (Randy) Sanders and coach Fisher, I couldn’t have asked for any more,” Maguire said. “I feel like I know so much football -- coverages, fronts and blitz packages and everything. Just being in the quarterback meeting room with them for the past five years. I couldn’t thank them enough.”

Next up for Maguire will be training down in South Florida with other college prospects who are preparing for the draft. Maguire will be working out with Ken Mastrole, who has helped prepare former FSU quarterback EJ Manuel and NC State standout Jacoby Brissett in pre-draft workouts the last few years.

“I’m just going to give everything I’ve got the next few months and see how it goes,” Maguire said.

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