Reporting Brendan Darr
After Monday mornings’ fallout, Stefon Diggs, the #13 recruit in the country, seems even more important to the University of Maryland. Diggs is being brought in as a Wide Receiver, but could easily play any skill position on offense or in the secondary on defense. He’s that good.
I’ll break down what his signing means for Maryland, and more specifically what it means now that two more key players have left Maryland on the offensive side of the ball.
What It Means For Maryland:
Diggs is a playmaker in every sense of the word. If you’ve seen his highlight reel (and if you haven’t, it will be posted at the bottom) you know what he can do. He breaks tackles, he can beat you with speed or with any sort of move imaginable. He gets to the end zone, and he gets there quite often.
High School Stats aren’t always accurate, but I’m going with the Washington Posts stats for him this year: 17 rushes for 277 yards, 36 receptions for 770 yards, 31.5 tackles, 4 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles with a total of 13 touchdowns (including two special teams touchdowns). There’s also multiple services that said he had 23 touchdowns as a junior.
This is all great for the team this year, but his signing with Maryland also has long-term benefits. Diggs, along with fellow recruits Mike Madaras and Wes Brown, went to Good Counsel in Olney, Md., one of the top high school football programs in the country. Good Counsel has overtaken DeMatha as the top DC-area high school in producing football talent and a pipeline to Good Counsel is huge in the long run.
Recruiting the WCAC in general will help keep local talent home, but having an “in” with the top school in the area can not be discounted by fans and pundits. The recruiting pipeline is even stronger when you consider that Zach Dancel, whose father is the so-called financier of the Good Counsel football program, also transferred in from New Mexico.
Diggs is the biggest recruit to step foot on Maryland’s campus since Melvin Alaeze #2 overall in 2006, although he never played for Maryland (you can read why in an article I wrote 5 years ago) or Wesley Jefferson #1 LB in 2003.
What It Means For The Depth Chart:
Diggs instantly upgrades the Maryland offense and the Wide Receivers. With Maryland graduating two of their top four receivers from last year (Quinton McCree and Ronnie Tyler, both of whom were starters throughout the year) and two more reserves in Tony Logan (mainly a return man) and Webb Dulin. Maryland also lost promising freshman Adrian Coxson, who decided to transfer after the season.
Maryland has four Wide Receivers returning who caught a pass last year, and only two – Kevin Dorsey and Kerry Boykins, both seniors next year – caught more than 12 passes. Sophomores Marcus Leak and Devin Burns also caught passes, Leak actually started a game while Dorsey was injured. The only other receiver on the roster is Tyrek Cheeseboro, who was mostly used on special teams before an undisclosed injury ended his season.
Diggs will provide a legitimate down-field threat for Quarterback C.J. Brown next season. Dorsey and Boykins figure to start the summer atop the depth chart, but I wouldn’t be surprised, at all, if Diggs is penciled in next to Dorsey to start the season. I expect him to at least jump to the #3 before Maryland opens the season.
One thing Good Counsel did was make sure to get the ball in his hands, both throwing to him and simply handing the ball off or lining him up as a “Wildcat” QB. I doubt he’ll see any time in Locksley’s pro-style offense getting a direct snap, but seeing him get the ball on a reverse or on an option play shouldn’t be out of the question, and hopefully a common occurrence.
It’s unclear whether or not Diggs will be used in the return game. Maybe if he were buried on the depth chart coming out of the summer we could see him starting returning kicks or punts, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility he could be doing both receiving and return duties. Tyrann Mathieu is a perfect example of a dual-threat player.
The Good Counsel Trio (Diggs, Madaras and Brown) will be counted on heavily this season. Madaras now looks like a lock (in my eyes) to be starting at one of the tackle positions with the departures of R.J. Dill and Max Garcia. Brown looks to compete for playing time with Sophomore Justus Pickett and fellow Freshman Albert Reid at Running Back, but could very well end up being the opening day starter.
Diggs Highlight Reel:
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