Stefon Diggs is gaining the rapid approval of Minnesota Vikings fans everywhere, but his little brother is gaining the attention of college recruiters making frequent calls to the East Coast.
Diggs gained so much momentum in the past two weeks – his first two being active on game days – that offensive coordinator Norv Turner tried to slow the roll of fans and media singing his praises. But Diggs, a rookie fifth-round pick, has 216 yards in his two starts and became the first receiver of the 2015 season to gain 100 yards in a game for the Vikings, earning NFL rookie of the week honors.
Teammates were the least surprised about Digg’s quick success, having seen his athleticism and work ethic throughout training camp and during early regular-season practices. Captain Munnerlyn said Diggs might be the most polished receiver he’s ever seen coming out of college.
Out East, Trevon Diggs is the beneficiary of Stefon’s knowledge. Tevon, already listed as 6-foot-1 ½ and 182 pounds, is capturing the attention of coaches he plays against as both a wide receiver and cornerback for The Avalon School. He is Scout.com’s top-ranked receiver in the East for the Class of 2016, but he is also being recruited as a cornerback by some schools.
“He’s got a decision to make in what he wants to play when he gets to college and the rest of his career,” Stefon said. “He can play both sides of the ball.”
Stefon wasn’t sure which position Trevon is better at – cornerback or receiver – and he doesn’t necessarily think every two-way player these days would choose offense.
“Nowadays, because people love big corners there’s usually never enough,” Stefon said.
“It’s kind of hard. You know with (defensive backs), some of them have the size and the range and the ball skills, and if you have ball skills and you are a DB that’s good, especially if you develop better hips and breaks. He’s been playing receiver for so long that he’s probably more natural at receiver.”
Of course, Trevon has a built-in advantage with his older brother – who has been through college and now NFL coaching – offering him advice and pointers on everything involved with route-running, a forte for the older brother. Stefon has been working with Trevon on getting off the line of scrimmage, making breaks at the top his route, creating separation – perhaps Stefon’s greatest asset – quickness and anything else associated with polished receivers.
“That is a big advantage. It’s like cheating because you get everything early. When you get everything early, you know what to expect. I think he’s going to be special,” Stefon said.
“Just as far as off the line, top of the route, creating separation, quickness out of breaks, everything. Pretty much everything.”
The first comparison Stefon made for Trevon wasn’t the brother to brother appraisal, it was comparing the younger brother to one of the most successful receivers in the NFL these days: Cincinnati’s A.J. Green.
“The thing to look at is just how Diggs comes in and out of his breaks and how fluid he is,” Scout.com recruiting analyst Brian Dohn says of Trevon. “He gets into the break quickly, comes out, turns his head, locates the ball, makes the catch, puts the ball away. He’s a very smooth runner; it’s effortless. You can see the athleticism there.”
Sounds just like his big brother, but Stefon says there are differences.
“He’s taller and with a lot more tools. I teach him everything I know,” Stefon said. “He’s taller, more tools, more things to do and he does pretty much everything I used to but at a higher level. He’s going to be good.”
Of course, with a true brother mentality, Stefon isn’t going to give all the edges to Trevon when comparing the Diggs bloodline talent. Stefon says he would “dog” Trevon in a race. Gotta love the sibling rivalries.
Stefon is perfectly willing to coach Trevon’s with on-field skills, but he isn’t interested in influencing his college decision.
Stefon went to Maryland, but Trevon has interest from some of the major college programs. Alabama, LSU, Maryland and UCLA are all high on his list, but Stefon says he isn’t going try to sway his younger brother to his alma mater.
“I don’t encourage him to do anything because I’m not into making people do something they don’t want to do. He’s of course asking me for my guidance and my advice so I’m going to give him my honest opinion on what I think should happen for him,” Stefon said.
“… We said we’re going to talk really after this season and see what the record is for a lot of the teams that were on his list, where he fits in the majority of those schemes and where he can help.”
If Trevon is anything like Stefon, the transition to success should be quick.
- When the Vikings played the Lions in September, Calvin Johnson had 10 catches for 83 yards, but it was easily the lowest yardage output of the 12 career games in which he has had double-digit receptions, the previous low being 118 yards on 13 catches. Even so, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer knows how good Johnson can be.
“I’ve played him way too many times. He’s just so good at everything - running the routes, catching the ball, getting open, using his size, his speed, out-jumping,” Zimmer said. “When I was in Cincinnati we had three guys around him and he threw up a 50-yard ball and he went up and got it for a touchdown. I’ve been well aware of him for a long, long time. And I know people use these terms loosely as one of the greatest receivers, but he really is with the things that he can do and the way he can go get the football. He’s got tremendous hands. Even some of the catches that he makes that aren’t inbounds are fantastic catches. He’s someone you always have to pay attention to.”
- Antone Exum was expected to start last week after getting first-team reps throughout the week, but fellow safety and season-opening starter Andrew Sendejo got healthy enough later in the week to retake his starting job.
“I was not surprised that he was able to play because I saw him in practice for the most part, but I didn’t know until we got toward the end of the week,” Zimmer said. “He’s a smart guy, so he understands exactly what we’re trying to get done. He’s going to give you a full day’s work. I think he plays with a lot of confidence.”