If you follow college football recruiting, chances are you’ve heard of Stefon Diggs.
He is the nation’s No. 2 wide receiver and a five-star prospect according to Rivals.com and Scout.com. He hails from Our Lady Good Counsel in Olney, Md., the same high school as Florida starting linebacker Jelani Jenkins.
Diggs doesn’t have the greatest size at 6-foot, 180 pounds, but his 4.45 speed and playmaking ability makes him a must-get for UF. He attended Friday Night Lights in July and has the Gators among his top list of schools, although it has been reported that they hold the lead.
This weekend, the most important person in his recruitment will be on campus — and it’s not Stefon Diggs.
It’s his mother, Stephanie.
Since FNL, Diggs has been scheduled to return for the UF-FSU game so his mom could check out the school.
But everything changed last Saturday.
“His brother’s game got canceled last weekend and moved to this weekend because of a scheduling conflict,” said Will Flaherty, Diggs’ mentor and one of his high school coaches. “And since Stefon feels strongly enough about Florida that he’s going back for an official, he didn’t feel it was that important that he go because he really wanted to be at his brother’s game.”
His mom, however, did not want to back out of her plans with Stephanie Hall, Jelani Jenkins’ mother. (Yes, they have the same name).
“When the game changed, she felt this (weekend) was still her time to go down with Jelani’s mom,” said Flaherty, who will join them on the 14-hour drive so he can see Jenkins play in The Swamp for the first time. “She trusts Stephanie. Jelani’s mom is very together and on top of things, so she will be able to show Stefon’s mom how to handle the experience. And everything Stephanie has told her about Jelani’s time at Florida has made her really like it. The most important thing in Stefon’s recruitment is that his mom see the school and meet the coaches.”
The UF staff has made a big impression on Diggs’ mother, especially running back coach Brian White (Stefon’s primary recruiter).
“The coaches have done a great job of recruiting him,” Flaherty said. “Brian White will send him a personal letter every week that she enjoys a lot. All the coaches from schools recruiting Stefon are a little bit like salesmen, but talking to Brian White is like talking to a normal guy.
“She really likes Brian White and wants to meet him. She feels comfortable with someone like him looking after her son. He really puts in that extra effort to make her feel at home.”
This weekend will allow her to see if Gainesville can be Stefon’s home for the next four years. If the trip is a success, UF could have two players from Our Lady Good Counsel in 2012.
“She doesn’t like the interviews and she doesn’t like a million people in her face,” Flaherty said. “She just wants to go down there, no one has to know who she is, meet the coaches and come back. And if she is treated well and likes what she sees, it will help Florida’s chances a lot.”