Trevon Diggs gained entry to an exclusive club Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette.
With the last seconds of the first half ticking off the clock, ULL quarterback Andre Nunez launched a Hail Mary toward Alabama’s end zone. The pass disappeared into a gaggle of swarming Crimson Tide defensive backs around the 10-yard line.
Diggs emerged, carrying the ball in his arm as he made a triumphant run to the sideline after the interception. His teammates sprinted along with him, celebrating the induction of their newest member before they went into the locker room.
“We’ve been on his head for a long time now because he didn’t have one, but now he’s a part of the pick club so I guess we like him now,” safety Xavier McKinney said after the game.
Although quick to congratulate him, his teammates were also quick to jokingly discredit him. After all, he was the last starting Alabama defensive back to secure an interception.
“They said my pick didn’t count,” Diggs said. “I was like, OK. Because it was at the end of the half and they just threw it up. I said, ‘It looked like it counted to me.'”
The interception, the first of Diggs’ career, had been long awaited.
A four-star athlete out of Rockville, Maryland, Diggs arrived to Alabama in 2016 with the athleticism to play on either side of the ball. The Crimson Tide’s coaching staff was faced with a dilemma, albeit a good one. They had a versatile player but didn’t know where to best utilize him. As a freshman, Diggs worked with both defensive backs and wide receivers. He moonlighted as a kick and punt returner. With his talent pulled in so many directions, Diggs didn’t flourish in any singular role.
In the offseason, Diggs made the permanent move to cornerback and was poised to man one of the starting jobs for the 2017 campaign. Then things changed. After starting in Alabama’s season opener, Diggs was supplanted at halftime by Levi Wallace, who held the position for the remainder of the season. Diggs spent the year as a reserve, learning the nuances of the position. He bided his time.
This season, Diggs again found himself starting at cornerback in Alabama’s opening game against Louisville. He wouldn’t be replaced this time.
Through five games, Diggs has lived up to the sky-high expectations that traveled with him to Tuscaloosa. He’s allowed catches on less than half of his 18 targets and he’s tied for first in the SEC with five passes defended. Standing at a lanky 6-foot-2, Diggs’ size is an obstacle for opposing receivers and quarterbacks.
“He has long arms, so he makes good plays on the balls,” receiver Henry Ruggs III said.
Diggs needed all of his length when he made a spectacular pass breakup against Ole Miss in week three. After getting beat by receiver DeMarkus Lodge, Diggs caught up to him and swatted the ball away. It saved what could have been a momentum-building play for Ole Miss.
As for whether his interception against ULL should be counted, Diggs has at least one person on his side: His brother, Stefon Diggs, who plays wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, was in Tuscaloosa to watch his sibling snag his first pick.
“It was very special,” Trevon Diggs said. “I felt like it gave me a little good luck.”