Happy birthday Stefon

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Happy birthday Stefon.

Happy birthday to you.

You look like a _____.

Now what will you do?

It’s time for five-star receiver Stefon Diggs to fill in the blank. He will be announcing his college destination at 9 p.m. today, which is his 18th birthday. The four finalists for the Olney, Md., prospect are Auburn, Florida, Maryland and Ohio State.

For most of his recruitment, there were countless reports and rumors that Diggs was favoring the Gators. Let’s review the reasons why he was pegged to be a Florida pledge.

1. Diggs is from the same high school (Our Lady Good Counsel) as UF starting linebacker Jelani Jenkins. Their mothers are best friends and they share the same mentor, GC assistant coach Will Flaherty.
2. Other than nearby Maryland, Diggs’ mother and family has been to Florida more than any other school.
3. UF running backs coach Brian White recruited him harder than anyone else according to his mentor.
4. On his Jan. 20 official visit, Diggs told the UF commits he was coming.
5. He did the Gator chomp during Friday Nights Lights and at several of his football games.

Photo by Gatorcountry.com

These five facts had everyone saying Diggs to Florida as late as last week. Five of the six recruiting analysts for Rivals.com predicted the Gators, as did all the UF recruiting reporters (including myself).

Then Thursday came.

From dawn until dusk, there was an avalanche of a-source-close-to-the-situation stories on Diggs. The problem is, all the “sources” were saying different things. A few reporters from Scout.com were still predicting Florida, the Washington Post and Rivals’ Mike Farrell were reporting Maryland, Brandy L. Simms of the D.C. Sentinel newspaper was hearing Ohio State and apparently Auburn made a push late Thursday night.

When things get like this, I believe in none of what I hear and half of what I see. I don’t mean to disrespect anyone’s sources, because I have none on Diggs, but at this point any prediction is nothing more than a educated guess backed by third-hand information. He hasn’t given any hints as to where he’s leaning and those closest to him have gone quiet. Diggs shot down reports that suggested he has already let others know of his decision.

“Reporters job is to report,” he tweeted. “Can’t take anyones advice on where they think I’ma go. Only I know. People saying congrats. I haven’t committed anywhere.”

Going into Thursday I was about 70 percent sure he would sign with Florida. I was told the coaching staff expects to land him and so do the UF commits. On Thursday night, 2012 RB Matt Jones (left) posted a picture with fellow signee Jafar Mann (right) and Diggs (middle) from their official. His caption for the photo was “Gator Boys.”

Taken from Jones' Facebook

A lot of Gator fans are fearful of the Urban Meyer factor, but I think there is another former UF coach that should be cause for concern.

Mike Locksley became Maryland’s offensive coordinator in December and made up a lot of ground for the Terps. They got the last official visit and Locksley impressed Diggs and his mother. He’s holding his ceremony minutes away from the Maryland campus at Looney’s Pub, which has generated even more steam for the hometown team. He could pull a Jeremy Liggins, however.

Unlike Tracy Howard, who spurned Florida at the last minute to stay in Miami, I think Diggs wants to do his own thing and distance isn’t a huge factor for him. UF has all the advantages I mentioned above, plus it’s much more elite than a school that went 2-10 last season and hasn’t even scratched the surface of success seen in Gainesville. Stranger things have happened in recruiting, but I just can’t picture that being the case with Diggs.

He woke up at 1:35 a.m. Friday morning and tweeted this:

“Just had a dream I was in the swamp time to go back to sleep.”

I expect his dream to come true.

68 COMMENTS

  1. Zach,

    The Diggs aspect is great – hope he comes. But I just have to make this comment – this is just plain great writing. Great story telling. You took something that is naturally dramatic and made it even better. Thank you!

  2. The last minute flurry of info that come with these recruits who take it to the end mean nothing, in fact, the rumors, imo, are often put out by the recruits’ camp to create more drama.
    Remember, sports reporters from his hometown reported Avery Young to UF the night before NSD as a confirmed fact, based on their “sources”-we all know how that turned out.

  3. Another 18 year old kid doing all he can to grab attention for himself, and every year the media just keeps feeding this process. Can’t blame the kids for this. Based on our NSD record with “uncommiteds” this year, he’ll probably head elsewhere, and that’s OK. Wish him well.

  4. Excellent writing. Good flavor, but not too flowery. You do tell a good story. I agree that Diggs’ “camp” is pushing the drama a bit, and I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see him go to Maryland. I don’t care for the “look at me” attitude, but it’s his big day I guess. Hope he doesn’t mind cooling his heels behind Debose for a season.

  5. The kid wants to announce on his 18th. That’s clear. This has no impact on his desired team. If he comes to us, great, but he still has to earn a spot on the field. The other guys will be fighting just as much and they are not playing the “look at me” card. Remember the last great “next Harvin” guy that was promoted by Meyer (Dubose). He is still trying to find some level of consistency.

    Come to UF if you are ready to work Diggs. If not, Meyer at OSU can turn you into a bust

  6. I think the major hint here is where he is holding the announcement, at Looneys pub where i read the former and current Maryland coaches do their radio show.. So tell me, if you were going to announce for some other school than Maryland why would you go out of your way to announce at some pub to disrespect and basically taunt Maryland coaches and fans???!!!
    Right, no good reason, and so unless those facts are wrong, he is showing a side of him that is very immature and selfish if he goes anywhere but Maryland.

  7. He wouldn’t have taken this long if he wanted to be a Gator. I don’t think it’s a lock at all, and that tweet was meant for someone specific. Is there a girlfriend involved? Someone he’s feeling out to get their input into what he should do?

    Doesn’t sound like a bad kid, but sounds like he’s got something else besides football driving his decision. Curious for sure.

    Let’s hope.

  8. Unfortunately, he’s all Maryland. I think if we would have had Nelson Agholor and Tracy Howard then Diggs would want to be part of the class as he was close to those guys. But i think he is staying home IMO.

  9. From Diggs’ Twitter this morning:

    Contrary to what you hear I have not made a decision . A lot of people going be mad at me . But oh we’ll gotta make the best decision for me

    Even my own city might be mad at me .

    Shock the world ! See you later twitter..

  10. Zach, you’ve done a good job of looking at recruiting in the proper perspective: Fun. Despite what some people believe, this isn’t life or death for a program. But it’s fun to watch these kids react and try to make adult decisions. You’ve captured that nicely.

  11. Bob, that was made known long ago. Good story Zach, since the NCAA makes the coaches have a non-contact period why can’t they make the recruits have a non-comment period…a little hypothetical but this stuff with recruits is ridiculous.

  12. Looney’s is where the Maryland coaching staff do their radio call-in shows and it will be packed with Terps fans tonight. Diggs has done everything in his power to biuld the suspense and he has played the recrutiing game well IMO. This goes two ways IMO… 1) either he succumbs to the home-town pressure (i.e. Damien Williams), and opts to stay close to home and play for a Maryland team that will never compete for or win a conference or national title and average about 5 – 7 wins a year, or 2) He choses UF or Ohio State where he will have that chance. I was more worried about OSU than Maryland. EIt’ll be interesting to see if this kid has the cojones to pack in a Maryland Terps hot spot with their fans just to disappoint them, or if he’ll pull the trigger for the home-town team.

  13. […] Tags: 2013, needs, Numbers, Offensive, recruiting, Texas Texas Recruiting 2013: Offensive Needs as well as Numbers After that, it depends upon how prolonged Swoopes wants to pull out the inhabitant recruitment that right away includes Ohio State as well as Alabama entrance clever after the small-school star. If Swoopes does opt to take his time, the 'Horns could pierce upon to Barrett, … Read some-more upon Burnt Orange Nation Happy birthday Stefon For many of his recruitment, there were large reports as well as rumors that Diggs was bearing the Gators. Let's examination the reasons because he was pegged to be the Florida pledge. 1. Diggs is from the same tall propagandize (Our Lady Good Counsel) as UF starting … Read some-more upon Gatorsports.com (blog) […]

  14. I heard from a reliable source close to Diggs that he will have 4 hats on the table. he will pick up the OSU hat, throw it down, and then reach under the table and pull out a Valdosta State hat..yep. That would shock the world. Him choosing OSU and thinking that would shock people is just plain silly.

  15. I could care less about prima donna athletes who are stuck in the me first mentality. He will commit to Terps, be on the field his freshman year and Florida will go 9-4 without him or any of those other over hyped non Gators.

  16. Why is Florida football so worried about wide receivers anyway? No real talent ever comes here to catch passes. Who are they going to catch from? We won in 1996 with a mean ground game, (thank you Fred Taylor) an overachieving, spiritual QB, (sound familiar) and with a great TEAM of Gators that had revenge as motivatiion. 2006 Champs were a great defensive team that shellacked the the Buckeyes on D. 2008 Champs were once again, great defense and just enough offense from an overachieving, spiritual QB with revenge as motivation (Georgia anyone). Recruit defensive studs – not prima donnas!

  17. I am a Gator, but I live in Albuquerque, NM. I can’t believe Lochsley managed to land the Maryland job after what UNM went through with him. Yes, he’s a decent recruiter. But he’s also a total snap case/anger management poster child who couldn’t coach his way out of a box. 3 wins in 3 years. Hopefully, Diggs doesn’t buy his line.

  18. Don’t like this dudes attitude. Regardless of how good you are sign with everybody else. He wasn’t even the number one reciever or recruit. Seems like he needs attention and at Florida there are plenty of players worthy of the attention this guy is demanding. Good if we get him and who cares if we don’t. Seems as though if we do land him we will have to curb his enthusiasm. Go Gators

  19. It would be great to land Diggs. If all what Florida has to offer Diggs, national exposure, the weather, a quality education, a real chance to play and possibly to start early and top quality teammates and competition—isn’t enough, take his skills and hype elsewhere. The attention these young guys demand and seek out is unbelievable. These young primadonnas must think of themselves as youngGods. Me Me Me instead of TEAM.

  20. If he’s a Gator, then great. If not, then that’s okay too. The facts are that we have a great recruiting class already (especially on the line of scrimmage) and I have high hopes that we could compete in ATL next year with or w/o Diggs. Yeah, I said it. Happy birthday kid, wherever you end up. GO GATORS!

  21. DAVIDO, we won 1996 with an incredible passing offense, not a “mean” running game. We had great backs mind you, but it was our passing offense that set up our run-game. Most of our rush yards came in the second half of games after we’d blown out our opponents with the passing game.

  22. I could care less about Diggs’ alleged “attitude”, I’d take him at UF in a H-E-A-R-T-B-E-A-T if he wanted to come here. We’d be fools not to. What could play in UF’s favor is his “attitude”, because that would suggest he’d pack Looneys full of Terps fans just to throw it in their faces and pick another school. What I don’t understand is how Maryland has suddenly played such a big factor in all of this. The most Diggs will ever accomplish at Maryland is probably leading the team in catches and receiving yards for a couple of seasons, because otherwise, he’s never going to win a conference or national title there. Maryland will be an ACC cellar dwellar with the garbage talent they have, and they also have a major QB controversy too. It just doesn’t make sense to me and I think he’s playing their crowd up there for the full effect.

  23. Sounds like it will be Maryland, which can be explained only that he wants to stay close to home and his comfort zone. Nothing wrong with that, but the Maryland program is a complete disaster right now. Serious Terp commentators were calling for Edsall to be fired after one year. His first season was that bad. There is no way that a prime recruit would step into that mess unless he wanted to stay at home.

  24. I’ve actually gotten pretty tired of Diggs. It seems every year some ballyhooed kid with cleats decides to have a stand-alone, spotlight’s all on me moment to announce to the waiting world his decision to enter this college or that. Truthfully, UF will admit a boatload of highly qualified freshmen and -women this summer and next fall.
    Nobody’s holding media conferences, sending out “save the date” cards and turning on lights and cameras for their announcements. If Diggs wants to study at a great institution in the best college town, and get to play football in a program the equal of any the rest of the country can offer, in the best conference, then come on to UF. Otherwise, why should the res of us care?

  25. I’d like him in Orange and Blue, too, just not bringing a prima dona attitude. I prefer Andre Debose’s spirit when Urban proclaimed him “the next Percy Harvin,” and Andre answered that he he only wanted to be “the next Andre Debose” at UF.

  26. It’s hard to know how to take his comments when you see them in an article. He could be having fun with the process (and not taking himself too seriously) or he could be a huge pain in the arse and a future team chemistry problem. Without knowing the kid, there’s no way to tell.

  27. I don’t care if he goes to Maryland instead of UF. If he wants to go there, he is motivated by something other than big time football and championships and that is okay. To each his own. I’ll be sore about it if he goes to Ohio State. Don’t want to see him at Auburn either.

  28. Sounds like he is trying to create some drama for the home town fans by hinting he is going to Florida. Then when he announces that he is going to Maryland there will be lots of cheers from the home town crowd. I can’t see him doing all this and then choosing the Gators or Ohio just to stand in front of a lot of disapointed booing (and possibly angry) Maryland fans. I would love to see him in orange and blue but I don’t see that happening the way this is playing out.

  29. a@gator todd, Florida doesn’t need anymore egoes on this team. Muschamp is cleaning this team up of these players who come in and want it their way but haven’t produced on the college level. True we could use a player of his caliber but Debose had better highlights than this kid with awhole lot better competition. I am not impressed with all this me myself and I stuff. Good luck to him wherever he signs, but I will not lose one bit of sleep if he doesn’t come to Florida. So spare me this crap about how Uf needs him. He is not the savior of our program. He could be a cancer and all signs point to it. What happens when he gets told no or things don’t go his way? I would rather not have him than let him corrupt our team. So get over this kid,theres plenty of athletes of his caliber.

  30. I am glad this is over and done with. This kid is got good talent and hopefully he doesn’t let his ego get in the way of his developement. I think the thought of playing in the sec and against the tough defenses week end and week out scares alot of the skilled position players and more so the recievers. Maryland has some QB issues to work out. I also think this kid got some bad advice from someone if his true motivation is to win championships. It’s not gonna happen at Maryland. He would have had a chance at championships at anyone of the other schools that was on his radar.

  31. For all his confidence and bravado he ultimately chose to remain the big fish in a small pond. He will still be the star for another few years. If that’s what he was looking for then he probably made the best choice for everyone. Good luck to him. I will not lose sleep tonight. Go Gators.

  32. Nole4ever…..

    You are right…and you should be thankful….for if not for the Gator offense….you would have been blanked as well. The only difference in the game was John Brantley. Your QB did not turn the ball over. Brantley did….giving the Noles their points. You guys had 96 yards of total offense! 96 yards!

  33. Obviously recruiting is a necessary evil, but following it seems ludicrous when you factor in the whims of teens getting far too much attention. So what if Diggs wants to go to Maryland or Maine or Montana? Hope he gets a good education, enjoys his college days and plays entertaining football at a high level. It’s just a shame when it seems like recruits flip for the shock factor in social networking and sports news. As for the nole trolls here, you won’t win six in a row, dears.

  34. This kid could not have had the grades to stay in school anyway. Mark my words another Nukeese Richardson that will amount to nothing and then get kicked off the team…anyone that chooses a lousy team playing in a lousy conference is afraid of competition and would’nt survive the SEC!

  35. Diggs reporedly said He wanted to sign with Maryland to be there when they win championships. The Gators will go to a better bowl than the Terps every year he is in school and they will not win the ACC championship in that time.

  36. Steve,
    You are too bitter over a kids commitment as to where he wants to play sports, regardless of his reason don’t bash the CHILD because he didn’t do what you wanted him to do with HIS life. Take a chill pill, Florida will still have a TEAM next year and they will play competitive football even without Mr. Diggs. It’s His LIFE and his Decision, don’t bash him for what he wants. GO GATORS!!!