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Thursday, May 9, 2013
Burnt Orange Breakdown: Quandre Diggs

By Carter Strickland

During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 6 Quandre Diggs
Junior cornerback

Expectations for 2013: Diggs should be the leader of a defense that is sorely lacking one. Not only is Diggs arguably the best player on the defense, he is a third-year starter who knows the ins and outs of what defensive coordinator Manny Diaz wants. Diggs’ role will be expanded as he moved into nickel coverage and covers the slot in 2013. This should help shore up what is perceived to be a weak spot at safety.

Best-case scenario in 2013: Diggs became a shutdown corner in 2012. Typically offenses went to the other side of the field to find yards. There were a few instances when Diggs missed a tackle or gave up a big pass, but not many. He should be able to expand on his impact within the defense and in the game by moving to the nickel position. In Big 12 play Texas has to use this alignment frequently and it allows Diggs to be closer to the ball as well as allowing him to be a stabilizing factor in the middle of the field.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: If Sheroid Evans or Duke Thomas are unable to come in and play cornerback when Diggs moves to the nickel it could signal trouble for the Longhorns. Neither of those two has been tested much, so both are question marks. Texas is weak at safety and needs to be able to make Diggs more versatile so as to cover up the safety issues. But the Longhorns cannot do that if Evans and Thomas are not ready to step up at corner.

Future impact: Diggs should be the leader of the defense in 2013 and 2014. There is a chance he would forgo his senior season. But his pro prospects are hurt by his listed height of 5-foot-10. The first cornerback taken in the 2013 NFL draft shorter than 5-foot-10 was Tyrann Mathieu, who was picked in the third round.