- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series will take a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from them. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
No. 6 Quandre Diggs
Recruitment rewind: Hard to believe in hindsight, but Diggs had to wait on his scholarship offer longer than most. He didn't get his offer at his junior day visit, but did get the good news soon after from Major Applewhite -- the former roommate of his brother, Quentin Jammer -- and committed in March 2010. Diggs went on to become the nation's No. 1 corner prospect according to ESPN and ranked No. 21 overall in the ESPN 150. The Under Armour All-American had more than 20 offers and never second-guessed his choice during the coaching staff shakeup.
Career so far: Diggs set a high standard in his debut year, earning Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and several freshman All-America honors in 2011 as an 11-game true freshman starter. He put up near-identical numbers as a sophomore, even though foes knew not to throw his way, and had a combined eight interceptions in his first two years. Duane Akina moved him into a nickelback role in 2013, in an attempt to replicate Kenny Vaccaro's crazy success there. While he didn't pick off any passes, Diggs did record 2.5 sacks and 10 pass breakups while playing closer to the line of scrimmage.
Best-case scenario for 2014: An All-Big 12 final season and maybe more. It's hard to imagine Diggs won't get drafted next year (in fairness, we didn't see it coming this year), but he can still do plenty to raise his stock. Charlie Strong seems intent to return Diggs to his corner spot, which might be for the best, but he'll always give you the ability to cover elite slot receivers, too. Diggs has always had a chip on his shoulder and isn't afraid to speak up, and his leadership will have a critical effect on Texas' defense.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: Diggs has never missed a game in his Texas career, so it's not like injuries are a big fear here. But sticking him in the slot another year, where his talents were obscured at times last fall when stuck defending the run, doesn't feel like a maximization of what he can do for this defense. No knock on Diggs, but he's better when he's shutting down his half of the field from his corner spot. This is where having a new DC and secondary coach with new ideas should benefit him.
Future expectations: Diggs plans to get to the league and follow in the footsteps of his brother, and nobody is going to stand in his way of that. He came back for his senior year with a plan: Get his degree and win a lot of games. An unsatisfying junior year provides plenty of motivation to do big things in 2014, and expectations should be high for Diggs' last hurrah.