senior cornerback

Senior comeback Quandre Diggs appears ready to lead the Longhorns as one of the key veterans on the Texas defense. After tallying 58 tackles and 10 pass breakups in 2013, Diggs enters 2014 on the Thorpe Award watch list. 

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Senior cornerback Quandre Diggs isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

Whether it’s giving advice to teammates or talking smack to opponents, Diggs rarely misses a chance to say what he’s thinking. It’s one of the biggest reasons he’s regarded as one of the most prominent leaders in the Texas locker room.

It’s also one of the biggest reasons why he has quickly bonded with his new coaching staff.

“It’s helped me because I can relate to [head coach Charlie Strong],” Diggs said. “I relate to him a lot. I can talk to those guys, all of our coaches, for 45 minutes. I can just go up there and speak my mind to tell them what I like and what I don’t like. Most of the time they don’t listen to the stuff I don’t like, but, oh well, I’m still going to tell them.”

Diggs believes that this regular communication with Strong benefits the whole roster, as he frequently relays his coach’s messages to his teammates.

“I can get something from Coach Strong and go back down into the locker room and tell those guys,” Diggs said. “The guys know that I’m not going to lie to them. They know I’ll tell them exactly what he said, and it’s up to me to help them get something done or they get in trouble by him.”

Of course, Diggs serves as far more than just the team’s vocal leader. He’s one of Texas’ most accomplished and dynamic players, and now, entering his senior season, the cornerback appears primed for another stellar campaign.

Diggs enters the season on the watch list for the 2014 Thorpe Award, which is awarded to the nation’s best defensive back each season. He’s coming off of an impressive 2013 season that saw him record 58 tackles while leading Texas with 10 pass breakups.

Right now, though, the senior cornerback is far more concerned with Saturday’s season opener against North Texas than he is with postseason awards. Diggs said his first offseason under Strong was physically demanding, and he’s ready to finally put everything he’s accomplished since the end of last season to the test.

“It’s going to be fun,” Diggs said. “Camp was grueling; camp was tough. It was waking up each and every morning and knowing you’re going in for a grind each and every day when you wake up. … It’ll be fun on Saturday, and I’m just ready to go out there and compete.”

While Diggs believes the Longhorns should be a tougher bunch after the recent offseason, he thinks the biggest thing that Strong has taught the Longhorn players is how to combine hard work with having fun in practice.

“I think we’re just having more fun,” Diggs said. “You know, a lot of guys being themselves, just going out and competing each and every day. When you make plays at practice, you can celebrate; you can talk trash; you can do all that. That’s important for a team just to be able to be themselves, loosen up all the time, just go run around, have fun and play football.”

For Diggs, the new season is likely to give him plenty of opportunity to speak his mind, to rally his teammates and disrupt his opponents. Of course, the senior cornerback hopes that it’s his play on the field that speaks the loudest.

Senior cornerback Carrington Byndom refuses to take it personally when opposing quarterbacks target the receiver he is covering. In fact, he embraces having the ball thrown in his direction.

“Always,” Byndom said. “I’m a cornerback. That’s always a good thing.”

The senior thrives off of making game-changing plays when given the opportunity. Byndom boasts an impressive résumé of five interceptions, 27 passes defended and a pair of defensive touchdowns over the course of his stellar four-year career, and the Longhorns’ opponents seem to have taken notice so far this season.

“They really haven’t thrown at him much this year,” head coach Mack Brown said. “Everybody’s been going away from him. He’s been healthy this year and it’s been
interesting that a lot of people have gone to the other side and stayed away from him.”

While he has yet to force a turnover through six games this season, Byndom continues to contribute. He regularly matches up against the opponent’s top receiver, and senior safety Adrian Phillips said this opens things up for the rest of the defense.

“Whoever’s their best receiver, he’ll be on them,” Phillips said. “Having a guy like that, knowing you can put him on someone and knowing he’s pretty much locked up for the whole game, it brings a lot to our defense and we’re able to do a lot of things with that.”

In addition to starring as a shutdown corner, Byndom plays an active role in pursuit of the ball. The senior cornerback registered 10 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in his first three seasons, and he recorded his only career sack as a junior last year.

As one of the most experienced members of the Texas secondary, Byndom also holds a leadership role on the Longhorns’ defense. Junior cornerback Quandre Diggs rooms with Byndom on road trips, and he said the senior cornerback served as one of his mentors during his first two seasons.

“He’s been a guy that’s taught me a lot,” Diggs said. “When I came in, he was one of the guys that took me under his wing. He’s one of the guys that keeps me focused and keeps me level-headed. He’s quiet, but when he does say something, everybody respects it.”

While he is not a particularly vocal member of the locker room, Byndom continues to lead the younger members of the secondary by offering positive reinforcement and setting a
strong example. 

“I know the younger guys look up to me with my experience,” Byndom said. “I just keep them going and keep them positive, and they do the same for me. I just continue to do what I can for them each game.”

Byndom figures to secure a job in the NFL after this season, but for now he remains focused on his time at Texas. The senior cornerback said the Longhorns’ biggest goal revolves around winning the rest of their games this season, and he believes doing this allows each of his individual goals to take care of themselves.

“It’s all about the team for me first, and I think the biggest goal for us now is to win out,” Byndom said. “The closest goal is just to win this week. It’s all about the team for me. All of the individual goals will come later, and as long as we’re winning games, my goals are fine.”

The senior cornerback remains dedicated to leading Texas to a Big 12 championship in his final opportunity to win the conference. The Longhorns’ defense must continue improving in order to achieve this, and no player figures to be more vital to this than Byndom.

Senior cornerback Carrington Byndom refuses to take it personally when opposing quarterbacks target the receiver he is covering. In fact, he embraces having the ball thrown in his direction.

“Always,” Byndom said. “I’m a cornerback. That’s always a good thing.”

The senior thrives off of making game-changing plays when given the opportunity. Byndom boasts an impressive résumé of five interceptions, 27 passes defended and a pair of defensive touchdowns over the course of his stellar four-year career, and the Longhorns’ opponents seem to have taken notice so far this season.

“They really haven’t thrown at him much this year,” head coach Mack Brown said. “Everybody’s been going away from him. He’s been healthy this year and it’s been
interesting that a lot of people have gone to the other side and stayed away from him.”

While he has yet to force a turnover through six games this season, Byndom continues to contribute. He regularly matches up against the opponent’s top receiver, and senior safety Adrian Phillips said this opens things up for the rest of the defense.

“Whoever’s their best receiver, he’ll be on them,” Phillips said. “Having a guy like that, knowing you can put him on someone and knowing he’s pretty much locked up for the whole game, it brings a lot to our defense and we’re able to do a lot of things with that.”

In addition to starring as a shutdown corner, Byndom plays an active role in pursuit of the ball. The senior cornerback registered 10 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in his first three seasons, and he recorded his only career sack as a junior last year.

As one of the most experienced members of the Texas secondary, Byndom also holds a leadership role on the Longhorns’ defense. Junior cornerback Quandre Diggs rooms with Byndom on road trips, and he said the senior cornerback served as one of his mentors during his first two seasons.

“He’s been a guy that’s taught me a lot,” Diggs said. “When I came in, he was one of the guys that took me under his wing. He’s one of the guys that keeps me focused and keeps me level-headed. He’s quiet, but when he does say something, everybody respects it.”

While he is not a particularly vocal member of the locker room, Byndom continues to lead the younger members of the secondary by offering positive reinforcement and setting a
strong example. 

“I know the younger guys look up to me with my experience,” Byndom said. “I just keep them going and keep them positive, and they do the same for me. I just continue to do what I can for them each game.”

Byndom figures to secure a job in the NFL after this season, but for now he remains focused on his time at Texas. The senior cornerback said the Longhorns’ biggest goal revolves around winning the rest of their games this season, and he believes doing this allows each of his individual goals to take care of themselves.

“It’s all about the team for me first, and I think the biggest goal for us now is to win out,” Byndom said. “The closest goal is just to win this week. It’s all about the team for me. All of the individual goals will come later, and as long as we’re winning games, my goals are fine.”

The senior cornerback remains dedicated to leading Texas to a Big 12 championship in his final opportunity to win the conference. The Longhorns’ defense must continue improving in order to achieve this, and no player figures to be more vital to this than Byndom.

Texas senior cornerback Chykie Brown suffered a broken right forearm in Saturday’s 39-14 loss to Kansas State and will miss the remainder of the season, ending his career as a Longhorn. Brown has started 29 games in 47 appearances in a UT jersey.

Freshmen cornerbacks Carrington Byndom and A.J. White will likely fill the void left by Brown’s injury, and safety Kenny Vaccaro will likely see more time on the field if nickel Aaron Williams moves over to the true corner spot opposite Curtis Brown.