OLNEY, Md. (WDVM) – Before Stefon Digg’s broke the Buffalo Bills’ franchise record for receiving yards in a single season, before he made the headlines with the “Minnesota Miracle”, Stefon Diggs was a five-star recruit from Good Counsel High in Olney, Maryland; looking to prove himself wherever he could.
“He was everything that all the other coaches told us about, ‘Oh yeah, he’s really that good.” said Good Counsel Head Coach Andrew Stefanelli.
Before Stefon joined the Falcon’s program; Coach Stefanelli was in charge of the freshman team, serving as the head coach. Which meant he would also play a major role in the recruiting process for the Falcon’s program.
“We had a summer camp that year, Coach Milloy had a summer camp every summer, and we still have it now.” said Coach Stefanelli. “Stefon came, we had several of our recruits at the camp, participating, and at the end of the day – everyday – we would have a game. Touch football game. And they’d have a championship at the end of the week, and Stefon’s team was in the championship. And were playing against another team who had another one of our higher recruits, Wes Brown, who they ended up becoming teammates here, and then at Maryland.”
“They were playing against each other in that championship game, so all of us coaches were so excited to kind of go one-on-one against each other in this game. Just watching, actually both of them, but Stefon that day – after hearing so much about this great recruit we have, coming in – to actually see it, you knew that he was going to be something special right there.”
“Special”, “Different”, “Amazing”; adjectives that only do so much of the lifting to describe the impact Stefon had during his time with the Good Counsel Falcons. He walked out of the program, with three Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) titles in his bag, along with MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Junior Combine in 2011, and an invitation to the 2012 U.S Army All-American Bowl. According to Rivals.com, he was considered the best recruit in the state of Maryland, and the number two wide-receiver in the nation.
He had the choice between Auburn, Florida, Ohio State, and California (UCLA) as well; but instead chose to play for Randy Edsall’s Maryland Terrapins; between 2012 to 2014. A major contributing factor for his recruitment to Maryland, goes back to current head coach, Michael Locksley, who helped recruit Stefon to the Terrapins.
“The biggest thing that stuck – that stood out was his competitive nature. The work ethic. He was always up and going out – running routes – just talking ball” said former Maryland quarterback CJ Brown.
During Stefon’s freshman year, he raked up 1,896 all-purpose yards, which were the second most in a single season in school history, only behind Torrey Smith. He led the team with 54 receptions, 848 receiving yards, and six touchdown receptions.
As a sophomore, Diggs caught 34 passes for 587 yards and three touchdowns, but a broken fibula in his right leg sidelined him for nearly half the season. In 2014, his final year, he finished with a career-high 62 catches for 792 yards and five touchdowns. A few days after his last game he had announced that he would go pro.
“Definitely knew that he wasn’t the late round pick that he went in. Someone was getting a star.” said CJ Brown, “We saw flashes of it obviously all throughout college, towards the end of his career there, and I think that is mainly why he slipped, to where he did. But obviously falling into Minnesota, working with you know those guys, Adam Thielen and all, you saw the playmaking ability.”
Stefon Diggs was selected with 146th overall pick, by the Minnesota Vikings. 10 picks after the Baltimore Ravens had the 136th overall pick. Ravens’ Head Coach, John Harbaugh, acknowledged this Thursday, that Diggs was “the one that got away”.
As Diggs, and Bills mafia get set for Saturday’s game against Baltimore, Good Counsel’s Andrew Stefanelli will use Stefon’s story; to influence the next crop of young stars that step out from Maryland.
“We do talk to our players a lot about the legacy that the players ahead of them – the foundation that was laid here by guys like Stefon – to let them know the standard has been set- and they have pressure on them to try to carry that forward” said Coach Stefanelli.
Kickoff for Diggs’ game against the Ravens is set for 8:15 PM on Saturday night.