Maryland Football: 10 Reasons Stefon Diggs Signing Will Reignite Failing Program
Five-star receiving prospect Stefon Diggs recently shocked the football world by committing to Maryland. It's a great pickup for Maryland as they are signing the 13th best prospect according to ESPNU 150.
Yet it also a shocking move considering Maryland is a program in disarray. They are coming off of a 2-10 season where they spent the year at the bottom of the ACC. It's more than a little surprising that a top prospect like Diggs would choose a school this bad.
There's reason to believe that Diggs' signing will impact Maryland positively. Here are 10 reasons why Diggs' signing could reignite Maryland's failing program.
Diggs Could Become a Game-Changer for the Terps
Last season Maryland definitely missed Torrey Smith, their top receiver of the last several years. Instead their top receiver was Kevin Dorsey who finished with a miserable 573 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
It's clear that the Terrapins like having a speedy receiver that can easily dominate games. Now with Stefon Diggs here, the Terrapins have a player that has some similarities to Smith. Diggs has a similar combination of speed and power as well as the ability to deliver crushing blows on defenders.
Even though his collegiate career hasn't begun yet, Diggs certainly has the potential to be another Smith or Darrius Heyward-Bey for the receiver challenged Terrapins. In fact, the potential could be there for Diggs to be even better than those two receivers.
Diggs Can Also Run the Ball and Play Defense
It's common for high school football players to play on both sides of the ball. Still what Stefon Diggs did on offense and defense during his high school playing days was amazing. In addition to his main position of receiver, Diggs spent time at running back and at defensive back.
During the 2011 season, Diggs had 36 receptions for 770 yards and 17 rushes for 277 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, he had four interceptions and three forced fumbles. Between these positions and also time spent returning the ball, Diggs had a total of 13 touchdowns last year.
It's likely that his days playing defense will end in college, unless a lot of Maryland's defensive backs get hurt. But in addition to playing receiver, Diggs could also return kicks or punts or even get in the backfield for some carries. When you have a player like him that is a threat to score every time he has the ball, you want to get the ball in his hands a lot.
The Signing of Diggs Gives Maryland an "In" with the Top DC Area High School
Part of the reason Stefon Diggs chose Maryland, was that it's close to his home and his high school. Diggs had played at Good Counsel in Olney MD, which has a reputation of being one of the top school's in the DC area. Now with the attention Diggs has brought them, Good Counsel could be getting a reputation as one of the top high schools in the entire nation.
Good Counsel is not that far away from College Park. So Maryland will likely see more recruits from Good Counsel interested in playing football with the Terrapins. This could especially happen if Diggs lives up to his promise and returns Maryland's program back to its former glory.
Already Diggs has brought some other Good Counsel students to Maryland. Offensive tackle Mike Madaras and running back Wes Brown have also committed to Maryland. It seems safe to say that thanks to the Diggs signing, the door will be open for further Good Counsel athletes to consider attending Maryland.
Because of Lack of Depth at Receiver, Diggs Should Get Chance to Start Early
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Maryland will be graduating two of their top four receivers from last season in Quinton McCree and Ronnie Tyler. This leaves a bit of a void in their receiving depth with only four receivers returning this season that even caught a pass last year. Of those four, only Kerry Boykins and Kevin Dorsey had more than 12 catches and 100 receiving yards.
As of now it looks like those two receivers and tight end Matt Furstenburg will be the top targets for whichever quarterback starts for Maryland next season. But with the lack of experience on the receivers depth chart, it's possible that Stefon Diggs will be able to work his way up to third string or even to a starting role.
Because of Diggs' high profile, Randy Edsall will be eager to get him playing time as soon as possible. Even if it's not at receiver, Diggs could return or even get playing time running reverses. So even if he doesn't start, Diggs figures to be a very important part of Maryland's offense next season.
By Choosing Maryland, Diggs Has Shown Rare Hometown Loyalty
As Stefon Diggs drew out his decision, a lot of Maryland fans likely lost hope that he would end up in College Park. Some of his other rumored destinations were Florida and Ohio State, both schools that have way better football programs than Maryland does. Instead, Diggs decided to pass up the chance to play for a national championship in favor of going to a team that would be happy to play for a conference championship.
It's a feeling that seems to be spreading among other top prospects. No. 3 recruit receiver Dorial Green-Beckham chose his hometown school Missouri and No. 69 recruit Darius Hamilton chose his hometown school Rutgers. It's not a surprising trend considering that most big-time college football schools take pride in getting their state's top high school players on their team.
Diggs admittedly had his own personal reasons for choosing Maryland, such as wanting to see his brother grow up and wanting to win championships with his home town. That may seem like an odd thing to say considering no one believes that Maryland is anywhere near being ready to win a national championship. But the fact that Diggs chose Maryland despite knowing how bad they are, shows that he loves his home and that he relished the possibility to become a hometown hero.
Diggs Is a Threat to Score Every Time He Has the Ball
Stefon Diggs is not only an elite receiver but he's also good at returning the ball or even scoring on gadget plays. During his time at Good Counsel, Diggs had plenty of plays where he ran reverses or even Wildcat formation plays. It was a smart move for his coach, who realized the gamechanging ability of his star player.
It doesn't seem likely that Diggs will run nearly as much Wildcat plays for Maryland. Still Randy Edsall would be wise to try to get the ball into Diggs' hands in any way possible.
Whether lining him up in the backfield or even sending him back to return kicks, Edsall and the Terps offensive staff will likely be scheming many different ways to get Diggs the ball.
The 3 Players from Good Counsel Already Work Well Together
Stefon Diggs and Wes Brown have become extremely close friends during their time together at Good Counsel. In fact their bond was so deep that a year ago they famously told reporters that they were a package deal.
Brown announced his attentions to attend Maryland over a month ago. Yet no one really seemed to think Diggs would actually follow up on playing on the same team as his friend. And yes, there must have been other factors besides Brown that caused Diggs to decide Maryland.
Now both of them and offensive tackle Mike Madaras are headed for Maryland. It seems that all three players could become important parts of Maryland's offense with plenty of opportunities in place for them to excel. And with the fact that they are already good teammates with each other should hopefully help to build team chemistry.
Diggs Has the Right Intangibles
At exactly 6'0" and 190 pounds, Stefon Diggs is the perfect size for a wide receiver. He is also versatile even if his speed doesn't quite look as impressive in the 40 yard dash where his record is 4.45. Instead he more uses his power and physical giftedness to find the end zone almost at will.
As good as his senior year was, his junior year was even better. With time spent at multiple positions, Diggs accounted for 23 total touchdowns that season.
Diggs Has Other Elite Receiving Skills
His size is not the only thing that Stefon Diggs has going for him. He also has excellent body control, which is a trait that is desperately needed by most receivers. Particularly his tendency to be elusive with the catch is something else that makes him a great receiver.
With all his documented skills, it's easy to overlook Diggs' weaknesses. When it comes to receiving. his only major one is his route running skills. Maybe this isn't so much of a surprise as he is playing so many different positions that he can't get used to consistent routes.
With more emphasis on playing receiver, Diggs should be able to improve his route running. If he does that he will one of the more complete wide receivers in college football.
Maryland Needs a Top Prospect to Work out
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The reason Maryland needs a high prospect to work out is because of a recent amount of overwhelming failure. And in some ways desperation is setting in with several players transferring away from Maryland. The most highly publicized and important one was quarterback Danny O'Brien recently announcing his transfer.
Maryland also needs to erase the memory of their most recent highly touted acquisition. This was Melvin Alaeze in 2005 who never even suited up for Maryland. Alaeze was a colossal bust that is currently serving an eight-year sentence in prison.
Stefon Diggs succeeding could take away the bad taste from the failure of these last two players. It could also hopefully open the door for more successful players to come to Maryland. There is a lot riding on what Diggs can bring to the football program this season and it's safe to say that Maryland needs this to work out.