It’s finally game week! In the past, we’ve limited these lists to just the top 25 players, but this season, we’re upping our game to 50. So just about every day until the season starts, there will be a new player profile up here as we count down to the top ACC player for 2013.
Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus “completely bulletproof” — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.
If anyone suffered the “most” from Maryland’s quarterback issues in 2012, I’d argue it was Stefon Diggs. The freshman wideout was still able to show glimmers of some real excellence, but it was obvious that his production was severely hampered by the team’s injury-induced carousel at the passer position. So if anyone’s excited about everyone coming back healthy, it’s probably Diggs. I mean, the team even considered using him at quarterback last year after the rash of injuries tore through the Terps entire depth chart. Of course, it never got to that point, and Diggs himself appeared to beg fans to “hang in there” with him. But if we’ve learned anything from Maryland’s 2012, it’s that we haven’t even come close to figuring out how good their star wide receiver can be.
On the surface, Diggs’s receiving numbers did not look overly gaudy (and we’ve covered why they wouldn’t). But when you consider them further, 54 catches, 848 yards and six touchdowns ain’t too shabby for a freshman. When you add in his rushing and return yards, however, that’s when you’re floored. In just 11 games, Diggs amassed nearly 1,900 yards and eight scores, taking the league by storm in much of the same way that Clemson WR Sammy Watkins managed to back in 2011. Halfway through the year, it almost appeared as if we’d see a new highlight reel play from Diggs every weekend, and all for a team that was sputtering along as it dealt with injury after injury.
And it’s all of that which has us supremely excited about Diggs this season. He’s obviously the impetus for any positive vibes about the Terps, and the potential for what “could be” with him is just as exciting as any other story line this season. If Diggs could be as electrifying as he was last season — despite being the only notable offensive player on the team — what happens when he’s surrounded by other weapons? Off the bat, quarterback C.J. Brown‘s ability to throw the ball while on the move should help Diggs make more plays in the open field. He’s also got Deon Long opposite him, providing the no. 2 receiving option the Terrapins mostly lacked last year to take some additional pressure off him. With all those pieces back on offense, it (shockingly) could end up being a very exciting fall in College Park, but mostly due to the skills of Diggs, one of the best playmakers in the conference.