Even Figgins didn't expect to start the season opener – but he did. Even Figgins didn't think he would become an important part of the Dawgs' offense – but he did.
"I think I had a pretty good year least year," Figgins said. "For a freshman season, I think I exceeded a lot of my expectations. To start the first game, and gradually get more playing time as the season went on, and to catch balls and to be in the game in some tough situations… I was pleased with it."
Now, however, Figgins will have to wrestle the starting job away for good from a rising senior with a new coach watching the duo this spring. Figgins is listed as the number two tight end behind Tripp Chandler. The tight end duo will be performing for John Lilly, who replaces departed tight ends coach David Johnson.
"I think me and Tripp are going to compete for the starting position this spring," Figgins said. "I think I am going to be a lot more prepared coming into this season. I won't have to learn the system and stuff like that."
That edge may help Figgins push Chandler for the starting job. Learning the Dawgs' offensive system – plays and all – was a difficult thing for Figgins to figure out at the start of his freshman season.
"Learning the language and the terminology was the biggest hurdle for me," Figgins admitted. "It was more mental than it was physical – and it was a lot physical. Once I was able to learn what to do and how to do it, your athletic ability starts to flow more."
Figgins ended the season with only three catches to Chandler's 21. Chandler started off modestly, too, with two receptions in his first season with significant playing time. Figgins hopes that the learning curve that is the first year of college football will give him the edge that he didn't have going into last fall.
"I still have mental lapses," Figgins said. "But things come to me now a lot quicker now than they did that first week of camp in August."