By DOM AMORE, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hartford Courant
12:16 AM EDT, September 15, 2013
EAST HARTFORD — Randy Edsall didn't have to look far to find his first dynamic player for Maryland.
If Stefon Diggs is an example of the talent residing within a short drive from his office, it's easier to understand Edsall's post-Fiesta Bowl decision.
Diggs, 6 feet, 195 pounds, has the ability to eat up big chunks of yardage and make defenses account for his every move. Soon it was apparent he was the most dangerous player on the field and the capacity crowd had to put its angst aside in Edsall's return to Rentschler Field and hold its breath whenever Diggs touched the ball.
"The thing with Stefon is, he can hurt you in so many different ways," Edsall said. "We can throw him the ball, we can hand him the ball, we can fake like he's going to get the ball and it takes the safety out of the middle of the field. He's a decoy.
"… I just love being around him because he's a competitor. He's on the sidelines getting guys going, doing the things you want players like him to do. He's special."
Diggs, from Gaithersburg, Md., played his high school football just 21 miles from the Maryland campus.
"[Edsall is] a by-the-book guy," Diggs said. "I knew he was going to better me as a person on and off the field, and he was going to care about me, not only as a football player but with everything, academically as well."
There's more where he came from, too. His brother, Trevon, a sophomore in high school, is right behind, just as close to the Maryland campus — and has already been offered a scholarship.
Might Edsall have been able to land this type of player at UConn? He couldn't say: "I didn't try to recruit him at Connecticut, so I can't answer that."
After the Huskies' opening touchdown. Diggs got his hands on the kickoff and returned it 23 yards to change field position for the next several series and lead the Terps on their way to a 501-yard offensive night and a 32-21 win.
Quarterback C.J. Brown found Diggs for 26 yards on Maryland's third drive, which was foiled only by a UConn interception deep in Huskies territory. Brown and Diggs hooked up for 36 yards on the next possession.
Early in the second quarter, Brown hit Diggs for 15 and 21 yards during a four-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Diggs had 98 receiving yards long before the half. He finished the game with five catches for 110, taking a short outlet pass and scoring from 12 yards out to put Maryland ahead 20-10 in the third quarter.
"He's a big time player, a big time threat," Brown said. "All defenses have to account for him, and when they do, we make adjustments and go to other players. He just causes a lot of havoc."
Diggs didn't take anyone by surprise Saturday night. He was the ACC's Offensive Player of the Week after catching six balls for 179 yards in Maryland's win over Old Dominion on Sept. 7, including a 41-yard touchdown on a screen pass, the type of play that is his signature.
"I just want to see everyone get their chance to score a touchdown," Diggs said. "Spread the ball around, so if they key on one of us, another one steps up."
Last season, as a true freshman, he had 54 catches for 848 yards. Through the first two games of this season, Diggs already had 385 all-purpose yards, and he kept up that pace with another 145 vs. UConn.
"I've always been a leader on and off the field," Diggs said. "When it's game time and the lights come on, I'm ready. No matter what happens in the game, I'm going to be ready and make sure everybody else is ready. We're going to drive down the field and score, every opportunity we get."
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