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A Salute to the 2019 Alabama Seniors: Trevon Diggs

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The talented player became so much more than the do-it-all position-less athlete he was as a freshman.

NCAA Football: Alabama vs Duke Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Hailing from Bethesda, Maryland, Trevon Diggs came to Alabama as a positionless “athlete” with a whole lot of athleticism, fluidity, and game speed, but not very specialized in any spot. He was the #115 overall recruit and #4 athlete in the nation, and was projected to be most likely to play wide receiver, like his older brother Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings.

As a true freshman, he immediately became the Tide’s starting kick returner in the season opener against USC, and also got some time at defensive back. One game later, he was in the mix for starting punt returner as well, and got his first catch as a wide receiver.

As the season went on, he continued to garner playing time as a rotational wide receiver, back-up defensive back, starting kick returner, kick off coverage gunner, and back-up punt returner to Eddie Jackson. When Jackson broke his leg against LSU, Diggs took over as the starting punt returner as well.

A jack of all trades, Diggs earned a lot of respect from fans for being able to get himself involved in so many key positions as a true freshman, showing the amount of trust the coaches had in him, even if he wasn’t breaking dynamic returns every time.

He had 11 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, 5 tackles, a forced fumble, and 384 total return yards by the end of the season.

Over the offseason, Diggs officially dropped wide receiver from his duties to focus on playing defense, and wound up winning the starting left cornerback job over the summer. He got the start against Florida State, but wound up way out of position on a screen pass and then beat deep. He was replaced by senior Levi Wallace as he took the time as a back-up to better learn the playbook responsibilities of a new position and continued to be a special teams ace.

He held that role the rest of the season, getting 6 tackles and 3 pass breakups as a reserve defensive back and returning 18 punts for 154 yards and 2 kick returns for 74 yards (true freshman speedster Henry Ruggs III got the nod at kick returner).

In 2018, Diggs got another shot as the starting cornerback, and quickly rewarded the coaches with stellar play. In a game against a highly vertical Ole Miss offense with a couple of NFL-level wide receivers that saw other Alabama defensive backs getting toasted, Diggs totally shut down everyone he covered and displayed a couple of uber-athletic pass breakups on deeps balls. In only the first 6 games of the season, he had 20 tackles and a team-high 7 pass breakups, and had given up his return duties to the freshman phenom Jaylen Waddle.

Unfortunately, he broke his foot against Arkansas, leaving Alabama with a shortage of defensive backs the rest of the season (an absence clearly felt in the excruciating National Championship loss where his replacement was repeatedly targeted on every single third down).

In his senior season, Diggs returned to his left cornerback role, earning a third team All-American award by the AP and first team All-American by PFF. He had a team high 11 pass deflections to go along with 37 tackles and 3 interceptions in a solid if unspectacular senior season.

With the name recognition of his older brother, many expected Trevon to be a multi-year All-American type talent, and therefore view his career as a bit of a disappointment. But as a 4* recruit without a position, that he carved out a role as a return man as a freshman, earned a starting job on defense as a junior, and returned from a broken foot his senior season to earn a 3rd-team AP All-American designation is nothing short of a stellar career.

Roll Tide, Trevon.