Freshman Rhett Magner tries to elude Cody Basier during a scrimmage on the same field his brother Cole starred.
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BOWLING GREEN - Rhett Magner isn't going to surprise anyone.
He might have boyish looks, layered hair and a 165-pound frame. He might look like an action figure compared to his teammates on the offensive line.
But the day Magner plays his first game with the Bowling Green State University football team, no one will look past him. His brother took care of that.
Magner, a freshman wide receiver for BGSU, is the younger brother of Cole Magner, the Falcons' career receptions leader now in camp with the Atlanta Falcons.
Although they've had just nine days of practice with him, coaches believe this Magner will measure up to the other.
"He's every bit as talented as his brother," offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa said. "He's just in the process of learning what's going on, adjusting to the speed of college football, but we think he's going to be every bit as good as his brother. There's no doubt about it."
Rhett (5-10) is shorter than Cole (6-1), and a little smaller than his brother was when he arrived at BGSU. It's hard to find many other differences, though. Both played quarterback in high school in Palmer, Alaska, and then switched to play exclusively receiver at BGSU. Both have long locks (Rhett's are brown, Cole's blond). Rhett even has Cole's old jersey number, 21.
"We act alike, talk alike, we're built alike," Rhett said.
After Rhett Magner saw a Falcons game each season while in high school, BGSU was his only choice, and only Division I offer. He traveled to Bowling Green during the summers of his junior and senior years to attend camp and performed well. Magner was first-team all-state at safety and made the second team as quarterback, but he jumped at the chance to play receiver and try to live up to his brother.
"Cole made a name for himself up here, and that's what I plan on doing for myself," Magner said. "I've got big shoes to fill, and I realize that. Coaches and players remind me of that often. That's just motivation for me."
Magner will likely redshirt this season, as will nearly all of the 26 other freshmen in fall camp. The Falcons have 12 scholarship receivers on their roster. But Rhett's older teammates, some who played with Cole for a few years, are already taking notice of him.
"He has great hands, great work ethic," senior receiver Steve Sanders said. "He may actually be better than his brother once he gets out on the field."
Magner made a few catches during Saturday's scrimmage and seemed to be comfortable running routes. But like all freshmen, his practices haven't been perfect, and when he messes up, he hears it.
"We threw a pass to him in practice and it went off his fingertips. I said, 'Cole would have caught that,' " Studrawa said. "He's going to hear that for a long time. I said, 'You want to stop hearing it, then catch the ball.' "
Magner is determined to give the coaches reason to pay attention to him, and not because he dropped a pass. But he'll start with getting them to remember his name.
"Some of the coaches just call me Cole," Magner said. "It's not that big of a deal. It gets a little irritating, but I'm OK with it. I haven't begun to prove myself for who I am."
When he does, no one will be surprised.
Contact Maureen Fulton at:
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