November 6, 2011

4-star Diggs likes Vols' plan

Janzen Jackson may be long gone from the University of Tennessee, but that doesn't mean the former standout safety can't still aid the Vols in recruiting.

Tennessee hosted a pair of Florida high school standouts this weekend, four-star Island Coast teammates Jordan Diggs and Mario Pender.

A safety with offers from across the country, Diggs said the Volunteers' coaches outlined their plan for him.

"The main questions I asked was to see if (defensive backs coach Terry) Joseph had a plan for me. In my process, I didn't really talk to him much because (quarterbacks coach Darin) Hinshaw is my recruiter, so I talk to him to him most of the time," said the articulate Diggs, a yes-sir, no-sir standout and future U.S. Army All-America Bowl participant. "But now, me and coach Joseph, we have that little bond, I guess I could say, and we're going to start talking more and just work on this relationship. ...

"Being kind of a (Janzen) Jackson guy. I could do what he did in this defense [Diggs said he was told of his potential role for the Vols]. Unfortunately, they lost him, but they see me coming in and adding that spice to the defense like he did. So basically, studying him and seeing what he did and the way they used him, that's the way they plan to use me."

Diggs' plan won't feature any immediate decisions; the 6-foot, 190-pound hard-hitting defensive back intends to declare his college choice at the AlamoDome in January's U.S. Army All-American Bowl. His next official visit will be near the end of this month at the annual Clemson-South Carolina clash. Diggs' father played for South Carolina, but he is examining each of his finalists to see which program can fit him best.

Diggs said while in Knoxville this weekend he took note of the camaraderie among players, the youth on the field and the environment while being hosted by freshman defensive starters A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt.

"The players [stood out]. It's a young team. The guys play with a fire," he said. "Maggitt and A.J., they hosted me. Those are two cool guys. The team's young, too, so that means a lot."

Diggs reiterated that he immediately noticed the Vols' youth --- and the coaches' willingness to play younger guys on both sides of the ball.

"Yes, yes, yes. And that's one thing they told us: They presented everything to us very well, and they told us that we fit," Diggs explained. "But to actually get out there and to see it and see those guys and see the mistakes the freshmen made and see how the coaches reacted to it, it definitely meant a lot to get to see that."

Early playing time is high on Diggs' list of priorities.

"It plays a big role. It plays a big role. I'm a hungry guy," he said. "I'm just looking for an opportunity to set myself up in the best opportunity to have success, so it definitely plays a major factor."

And despite a far from capacity crowd, Diggs said he came away impressed by his Neyland Stadium experience.

"Neyland Stadium, man, it's 'Rocky Top,'" he said. "It's everything you expect it to be."

In fact, Diggs admitted he could see himself at Tennessee.

"I feel pretty good. I definitely know that Tennessee is a school that Jordan Diggs fits well in," he said.

A four-star prospect, Diggs is rated as the 12th-best safety in the nation and top-40 player in the state of Florida, according to He lists, in no specific order, Michigan State, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt as his five finalists.

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