Trevon Diggs reveals time Nick Saban made him cry—and why the Cowboys star CB now thanks Alabama coach

ARLINGTON, Texas – When Nick Saban first floated the thought, Trevon Diggs cried.

The youthful brother of NFL receiver Stefon Diggs wished to be a receiver, too. He’d arrived at Alabama desirous to play offense, his cornerback abilities evident in highschool however his offensive potential additionally ranked highest of any Maryland product within the 2016 recruiting class. Saban believed Trevon Diggs’ size would translate much more powerfully at defensive again.

“I used to be harm at first, actually,” Diggs mentioned Sunday evening after his Cowboys beat the Giants, 44-20. “I known as my brother. I used to be crying.”

Stefon Diggs ditched the sympathy card in favor of motivation. “We’ve acquired to get to work,” he instructed a then-teenaged Trevon Diggs.

Quick ahead to Sunday evening, and Trevon Diggs—now a second-year cornerback—was securing his whopping sixth interception in 5 video games this season. Previous to Diggs, no Cowboys participant had intercepted a move in every of the primary 5 video games of a season in 50 years. The franchise hasn’t even had a participant intercept six passes all through a full season in 14 years.

Diggs’ message to Saban now: “Thanks.”

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When the Cowboys chosen Diggs within the second spherical of the 2020 NFL draft, no trait mesmerized them greater than his ball abilities. The 6-2 cornerback had nabbed three interceptions his senior season at Alabama, breaking apart eight passes on the 12 months. As a rookie, he deflected 14 passes, together with three interceptions, regardless of battling accidents and debuting and not using a preseason, which was canceled as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Now in his second professional 12 months, he has starred.

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) runs upfield previous New York Giants large receiver C.J. Board (18) after Digg’s interception within the second half of an NFL soccer sport in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021.

Tom Brady, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, Sam Darnold (twice) and Mike Glennon have unintentionally accomplished passes to the Cowboys’ younger standout this season. Dallas teammates giggle at quarterbacks persevering with to throw in Diggs’ route, even when he has taken to touring with opponents’ prime receivers. Administration compares him fondly to Corridor of Fame defensive again Deion Sanders.

“It’s unimaginable what he’s doing,” Cowboys government vice chairman Stephen Jones instructed a handful of reporters within the AT&T Stadium tunnels Sunday evening. “I don’t need to overdo it right here, however that was a bit Deion-esque how he set that up.

“I hope he retains it up.”

Diggs’ interception this week got here by way of Glennon after Giants beginning quarterback Daniel Jones was carted off with a concussion. On the primary play after the Cowboys had prolonged their result in 24-13, Glennon heaved a deep ball roughly 50 yards towards receiver C.J. Board. Diggs high-pointed the catch as a substitute.

“Once they get in formation like that, it’s extra so play-action, back-to-back deeper routes in opposition to max shield,” Diggs mentioned after the sport. “I learn my keys, noticed he ran the put up route and made a play on the ball.”

Diggs’ technical explanations, just like the interceptions themselves, have turn into a weekly staple in postgame information conferences. The cornerback has but to attribute his takeaways to probability or luck, nor does he decline to clarify them with the oft-cited excuse that he hasn’t but watched movie. Diggs credit his receiver background with giving him the deep data to know his coverages and why an interception did or didn’t materialize. Two earlier potential interceptions in opposition to the Giants, misplaced to a drop and out-of-bounds touchdown? Diggs can element the double transfer and over route performed in opposition to him on the missed alternatives.

“It’s type of simpler as a result of, being a former large receiver, I do know all of the routes, all of the route angles, all of the steps,” Diggs mentioned. “I do know precisely what’s going to occur, what you’re going to do to me.

“It’s not international to me.”

The regularity with which Diggs finds his interceptions, nevertheless, is certainly international.

Simply 11 gamers in league historical past have recorded an interception in every of the primary 5 video games of the NFL season, and solely three gamers had beforehand picked off six balls within the first 5 video games of the season. Cornerback Marcus Peters swiped six in 5 video games with the Chiefs in 2016, then no extra by means of the ultimate 10 video games he performed of the season. Earlier than that, six interceptions by a single participant by means of 5 weeks had not been seen since 1984.

“In the event that they maintain throwing on the child, he’s going to get extra,” Cowboys operating again Ezekiel Elliott mentioned. “I imply, he virtually had two different ones in the present day. In case you maintain throwing the ball at 7, he’s going to choose you off.

“I feel it’s about time for quarterbacks to cease trying his approach.”

Diggs hopes quarterbacks proceed to look his approach, together with Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Diggs has been goading Prescott to let him take reps at receiver in apply. Prescott instructed the 23-year-old: “Calm down.” Then he watched Diggs’ acrobatics but once more Sunday.

“Once you see a catch like that you simply’re like, ‘You already know, possibly we will speak once more,’” Prescott mentioned. “Diggs thinks he’s a receiver.”

The cornerback, in the meantime, is cautious to not get caught up within the hype that comes with accolades like his NFC Defensive Participant of the Month and Week awards. Certain, he appreciates the discover from these whom he respects, together with five-time Professional Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman tweeting Sunday that Diggs ought to win Defensive Participant of the Yr.

However on sport days, Diggs focuses much less on social media and extra on maximizing his preparation, from early-morning sauna journeys to clear his thoughts to cellphone calls together with his 4-year-old son Aaiden, who requests weekly which performs his dad make.

Then Trevon Diggs returns to his brother’s recommendation from the day Saban challenged his receiver future, the mindset that he believes will set up any of his success on the NFL stage.

“You’ve simply acquired to grind,” Diggs mentioned. “That’s all soccer is, is concerning the grind. No matter you actually consider in, you’ve acquired to actually go do it and actually obtain it. I actually believed that I could possibly be nook so I labored, labored, labored.

“I sucked it up and simply acquired again to work, and I thank Saban for that. Recognize you.”

Comply with USA TODAY Sports activities’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Cowboys: Trevon Diggs reveals Nick Saban made him cry, the way it helped

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