Quandre Diggs could catch a football about as soon as he could walk.
He didn’t grow up around an especially lenient sports crowd, either. Digg’s brother Quentin Jammer, a cornerback for the San Diego Chargers, began tossing footballs at his little brother around age five, Jammer told the Austin American-Statesman in an interview.
Diggs was clearly influenced by the drive and success of his older brother. Jammer was an All-American defensive back at Texas, and the position he holds in San Diego is the same position Diggs has assumed as a Longhorn.
“I’ve been around this place for a long time,” Diggs said as a freshman. “I grew up being a Texas fan ever since I was little. It’s great and it’s something you dream about your whole life.”
Ready to embark upon the dream he’d envisioned for so long, Diggs enrolled early at Texas to get a feel for the playbook. He also excited fellow signees, reaching out before they’d all arrived on campus.
“I think he had an impact on holding [his] class together because he is such a leader,” head coach Mack Brown said. “He would email and call the guys and talk to them. Every time I would talk to somebody, they would say, ‘Quandre said this.’”
Upon arriving on the Forty Acres, Diggs didn’t hold back in practice. He started 11 games and played in all 13 during his freshman year, earning a slew of awards including CBSSports.com Freshman All-American and Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.
Diggs was equally aggressive as a sophomore, starting all 13 games and leading the team in interceptions and pass breakups. But the Houston native may not be safe in his role as a cornerback. At least, not while Texas needs a safety.
With the departure of Kenny Vaccaro, the need to fill the slot is especially imminent. Vaccaro was a top tackler of a Texas defense that often failed to impress and execute in 2012.
But that, according to Brown, may be where Diggs’s versatility as a player can slide in.
“Quandre Diggs can play safety,” Brown said. “He can play corner. When Adrian [Phillips] was out some of the bowl practice, Quandre got a good week at safety in there.”
Brown said assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Duane Akina is working with players to compile a lineup that makes sense.
Defensive coordinator/linebacker coach Manny Diaz said the team is not far enough along in spring practice to pinpoint who will jump in at safety, but the players are keeping flexible.
“It was important coming into the spring to let everybody have confidence in terms of their base of knowledge so that they could just go play football,” Diaz said. “We have to find the best football players, and then we will figure out where to stick them.”
Wherever Diggs lands in the secondary, he still has time to make an impact and continue to live his childhood dream.