Jordan Diggs likes to ask questions – lots of questions.
While on his official visit, it’s how he learned more about the spur position from Antonio Allen. This summer, asking a lot of questions is one way he’s learning the position and the defense first-hand.
Diggs, a 6-foot, 197-pound freshman, is on track to open the season as the second-string spur, a hybrid between a linebacker and safety. Senior DeVonte Holloman is the starter.
Last year Allen led the team in tackles with 88. Allen had three interceptions and scored two touchdowns.
At Island Coast High School in Cape Coral, Fla., Diggs had 63 tackles as a senior. He also played in the U.S. Army All-American Game following the season.
His father Shed Diggs played linebacker for the Gamecocks from 1984 to 1987.
How did it feel to finally put on the Carolina jersey?
I’m living the dream. I keep telling the guys that when I put it on, I feel like I have superpowers.
What have coaches said about the opportunity to play early?
Coaches are telling me to keep working hard, learn my plays and the rest will take care of itself. It’s in the coaches’ hands. That’s my focus, just to get better every day and continue to work hard. I’ve been focusing on learning the plays. I feel like I’ve got a pretty good grasp of what’s going on. I’m really just working to get better.
With Sharrod out three games, do you see a chance to play right away? Who all is working at spur with you?
There’s definitely an opportunity, but my main focus it to learn the plays and continue to get better. Right now it’s DeVonte, me and Sharrod. I just act like Sharrod is my competition. At the same time we’re all just working to help each other get better. I’m really competing against myself to make sure I get better at something every day.
Are you working with the second team?
Right now I’m getting reps with the second team. I’m really trying to impress my coaches, work hard, stay humble and learn as much as I can.
What does the spur position mean to you?
The spur position is the perfect position for me. I get to really be aggressive, especially with what Coach Ward is doing with the defense. You get to cover. You get play inside the box and blitz a lot. I feel like that fits what I do well. We can attack defenses and do so many different stunts with the position. You kind of get a mismatch with more of a DB-type guy covering a tight end. That’s a mismatch all day as long as the guy is physical and he can get hands on that tight end. I’m excited about the position.
Quin Smith said you were someone who has made a strong impression on him. What does it mean to hear praise from a senior?
That’s definitely big. With those guys being upperclassmen, I ask those guys so many questions, I’m sure they get tired of me. I’m trying to learn as much as I can.
What’s it like playing with DeVonte?
DeVonte is a great player. He’s so physical. He has a great understanding of the position. He knows the defense in and out, being that he played on the backside and as well as getting some reps at the spur in the spring. I’m just learning as much as I can from him.
Did Antonio Allen set the bar high for all future spurs last year?
Definitely. I look up to Antonio. I asked him so many questions when I came on my official. That was one of the guys I really looked at to learn as much as I could about the position.
Has it affected your preparation knowing that you could play that first game?
It hasn’t affected my preparation. It’s actually made me go harder. I look to so many of these guys, all the upperclassmen on the team. I wouldn’t want to get out there and let them down, especially with the high expectations we have for the defense this year.
Any added pressure with playing early?
It comes with the territory. That’s what you bargained for when you come here. Most guys that sign up to come to the SEC, they want to play. And I was one of those guys. It’s something I’m looking forward to. It’s a great opportunity for me to play. I’m just trying not to miss my chance.
When you were recruited, did coaches tell you that there could be a chance to play early?
There was a chance, knowing Antonio was going to be leaving. Somebody was going to have to fill that void. At the time they hadn’t said they were going to move DeVonte to spur. That had me excited knowing that there was an opportunity that I could come in and work hard and possibly get some playing time as a freshman.
- Compiled by Dwayne McLemore, GoGamecocks