Terp of the Week: Stefon Diggs
Sept. 29, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, MD. - Each week during the 2012-13 season a Maryland student-athlete, who has shown excellence on and off the playing field, will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. This week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is football freshman Stefon Diggs, who had three receptions for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Terrapins' 31-21 loss to then-No. 8 West Virginia on Sept. 22.
By Anna LaBonte | Maryland Media Relations Student Assistant
As Stefon Diggs stepped into Looney's in College Park this past February, Maryland fans everywhere collectively held their breaths. Just after 7:30 p.m., the Gaithersburg, Md., native eased all their worries: He was staying at home to play football for the Terps.
One of the top ranked recruits in the nation, Diggs received numerous offers from other schools, but ultimately decided to attend Maryland. Now, four games into his collegiate career, the freshman wide receiver's talent has only improved, being named ACC Rookie of the Week for his performance against No. 9 West Virginia on Sept. 22.
"Actually my mom called me and let me know, so it was good news," Diggs said. "It's nice knowing your hard work is paying off so much, so I'm going to continue working hard and doing my job."
In his first start against West Virginia, Diggs recorded two touchdowns and 201 all-purpose yards. He caught a 42-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, followed by a 56-yard catch in the fourth. Diggs now ranks 12th nationally and third among freshmen in all-purpose yards per game.
"They had a big crowd; they had that 12th man," Diggs said of playing against a ranked opponent. "It was a big game and they had a lot of talented guys out on the field."
Part of Diggs' success has depended on a fellow freshman: quarterback Perry Hills. The pair are two of the team's most crucial members, in addition to the youngest.
"We're both young guys, we both make mistakes," said Diggs. "We don't get on each others' backs. If you make a mistake, just push through it. We know we've got each others' backs at all times."
One of their most memorable plays this season ended in Diggs' first career touchdown. Playing against UConn, Hills attempted a pass to wide receiver Marcus Leak in the fourth quarter. Leak ended up tipping the pass and Diggs, who broke off his initial pattern, sprinted into the targeted area and corralled the deflection for a touchdown.
"I never thought my first touchdown would go as planned," Diggs said, laughing. "I guess Marcus did a great job of tipping me the ball and Perry had a great ball. It's just one of those plays that you never think is going to happen, and I never thought my first college touchdown was going to be that way. But I was excited and glad to get it."
So far, Diggs' transition at Maryland has gone very smoothly. Most freshmen find their first year daunting -- and that's without being one of the most recognizable members of the football team. Diggs chalked it up to good time management, as well as staying grounded.
"Everything," he said of what he likes most at Maryland. "I like school; I like my classes. I'm loving football. You get what you put in. I'm just grinding each day and every week, and hopefully things will work out for the best."
"I feel comfortable," Diggs continued. "I feel at home. When I committed -- you're never 100 percent about your decision -- but I felt pretty good about mine. It just worked out for the best and I feel 100 percent now."
All the hard work is preparation for game days. Diggs' complete commitment to Maryland is shown on the field and there's no place he'd rather play than at home.
"(Capital One Field at) Byrd Stadium is a great place to play. We have great fans and I love that my family and a lot of my friends can come to games and support me. It's a great opportunity to play where you've been your whole life."