Wide Receiver Preview: Stefon Diggs
Image Credit: Sports Illustrated
2012 Statistics: 54 catches, 848 yards, 15.7 YPC, 6 TDs; 20 rushes, 114 yards, 5.7 YPC, 0 TDs; 26 KR, 713 yards, 2 TDs; 22 PR, 221 yards, 0 TDs; 1/2 passing, 8 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Terps fans didn’t know what to think when a 5-star wide receiver committed to their school. There were many feelings being felt that night at Looney’s Pub in College Park, but all of them were happy. The 13th best recruit in the Class of 2012 picked Maryland over Florida, Ohio State, Auburn, and countless other high profile schools. Stefon Diggs wanted to play for his hometown school, and he’s already become a star on campus.
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If one word were used to describe Stefon Diggs, it would be “playmaker”. A playmaker is someone who can make something out of nothing. In Diggs’ case, that is definitely true. He has a unique ability to run at full speed in one direction, stop on a dime and run in full speed in the opposite direction, all in a matter of seconds. In my time watching football at both the collegiate and professional levels, I have never seen a player with the number of shifty moves that Stefon Diggs has.
Diggs put up great numbers last season, despite never really having a consistent quarterback to work with. First it was C.J. Brown, then Perry Hills, then Devin Burns, then Caleb Rowe, and then it was linebacker-turned-quarterback Shawn Petty. One can only imagine what he will be able to do this season when he (hopefully) has the same quarterback throwing him the ball all season long.
It has been said that all you have to do is get the ball to Diggs, and he will make a play. So far, that has held true. Whether it’s on a screen, a reverse, a comeback route, or a pass across the middle, he will make at least a few defenders miss on his way to a positive gain. But offense isn’t the only way to use Stefon Diggs. Those shifty moves work extremely well in the return game, which is another area where he excels. He had 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2012, one of which came on the very first play of the game in Charlottesville, VA against Virginia.
This season, Diggs will be helped out by having another very talented wide receiver play across from him. Deon Long, a junior college transfer originally from Baltimore, will be playing for the Terps for the next two seasons. He is the first 5-star junior college recruit since Cam Newton, and his presence on the field along with Diggs will be huge for both of them. Teams will be unable to focus on just one of the two playmakers, and that means success for both of them. Long will also be able to give Diggs breathers in the return game, keeping both of them fresh at all times.
Stefon Diggs will enter 2013 as the Terps’ number one receiver and number one return specialist. He will dazzle fans, coaches, and players alike with his incredible playmaking abilities. Terps fans knew that they had gotten something special when Stefon Diggs made that announcement at Looney’s Pub, but I don’t think they could have ever expected just how good he was going to be.