Trevon Diggs has played offense, defense and special teams, but hasn’t been a star on any of those. The time is now for him to make his mark at Alabama.
Diggs started at cornerback in the Crimson Tide’s opener last season against Florida State, but former walk-on Levi Wallace emerged as the man in that spot. Instead of taking off, Diggs managed just six total tackles and three pass breakups in 13 games.
He made plays on special teams. He had a 55-yard kickoff return at Auburn and set the tone in the College Football Playoff semifinal game against top seed Clemson with a tackle on the opening kickoff.
Big plays, but Diggs isn’t at Alabama to become a special-teamer.
Going back to his freshman year, Diggs caught a touchdown against Mississippi State, but that experience didn’t work out in his or the Tide’s favor.
He’s got size (6-2, 195 pounds), athleticism, but Alabama used two years of his eligibility trying to figure out where to play him. Diggs appears to be fully settled at cornerback, the position he earned four stars coming out of high school.
Diggs was slowed by an ankle injury in spring practice, but played well in the A-Day game as he posted nine tackles and an interception. Now he’s in position to once again start a season opener as Alabama opens against Louisville in Orlando.
He better make the most of his opportunity.
Patrick Surtain Jr. is coming to Tuscaloosa as a five-star recruit talented enough to start as a true freshman. He lacks the experience, but Nick Saban, who works closely with defensive backs can get him ready to contribute by the end of September.
Junior college transfer Saivion Smith will be vying for a starting spot as well. He participating in spring practice and had four tackles in the A-Day game.
Going back to when Minkah Fitzpatrick arrived at Alabama and played star, Diggs may be able to shine in that role if Surtain Jr. lives up to expectations early. Or Diggs could just establish himself as a top corner and let Saban figure out where to play everyone else.
Alabama lost its entire starting secondary. The Tide need someone to take charge on the back end.
This is as good as a time as any for Diggs to do just that in 2018.
(Duane Rankin is an award-winning columnist/videographer for the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser whose work also can be found in USA TODAY. You can follow him on Twitter @DuaneRankin)
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.