September 27, 2011

Are the Bucks still in it for Diggs?

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For four-star safety prospect Jordan Diggs, the last few days have been a whirlwind. After being declared ineligible by the Florida High School Athletic Association following his off-season transfer to Island Coast High School, the 6-foot, 191-pound prospect was reinstated on Sunday after missing the first four games of his senior season.

"I'm definitely excited right now," he said. "My first practice today was awesome. It was good to be back out there, in pads, running around and hitting people. I was excited to run sprints and everything. It's just a great feeling. My teammates were excited that I was back so I just can't wait for my first game on Friday."

For Diggs, football has been almost a way of life for more than a decade and to have it taken away from him was definitely a painful experience. Diggs was back on the field on Monday evening for his first practice.

"It's definitely an incredible feeling," he explained. "I'm a passionate football player. I've been playing football since I was five years old. Football has always been a part of my life, seven days a week, in some way or form. I'm definitely going to enjoy (being back on the field). Football is not promised just like each day is not promised so I'm definitely going to enjoy it."

Before being declared ineligible, Diggs was weighing offers from some of the nation's top programs. Diggs said he's been touched by the support those programs showed him during a tough time.

"It hasn't affected my recruiting process at all, actually," Diggs said. "It showed me some schools that really care about me. None of the schools that were recruiting me backed off and they were recruiting me just as hard as they were before so everything is going fine."

One of the many programs that stuck with Diggs was Ohio State and Diggs was able to talk with his main recruiter on Monday.

"I just talked to coach Taver (Johnson) today and I'm trying to setup my official visit for Ohio State," he said. "I just have to find a game that fits with my schedule. I'm looking for something around late October."

The Buckeyes were thought to have slipped down Diggs' list over the summer after the resignation of former head coach Jim Tressel. While that may have been the case, Diggs said the Buckeyes are still firmly in the mix for his services.

"(Ohio State) is sitting real well," he said. "They're a school that's been there from day one. It was tough when coach Tress left but man coach Tress raised up some great coaches. They showed what coach Tressel taught them and it reflects on each and every coach that I've ever talked to (from Ohio State)."

A major part of what has helped Ohio State stay on Diggs' short list is the support they showed Diggs during his period of ineligibility. Diggs can relate to the adversity that the Ohio State program has faced recently after going through some adversity of his own.

"It's kind of cool to see that they didn't waver at any point in this process," he said. "With everything that went on with them, I stuck by them and with everything that went on with me, they stuck by me and that really meant a lot to me. Just based on talking to coach Taver and coach (Paul) Haynes I really want to get back up there. I was up there for the (spring game) but I want to get back there and see the atmosphere."

As Diggs works on setting his official visit up with Ohio State, he has already scheduled two of his five visits.

"I have two official visits setup right now," he said. "I have an official visit to Nebraska on October 8th (for the Ohio State game) and an official visit to Vanderbilt setup for October 15th (for the Georgia game). I talked to the coaches at South Carolina and I'm trying to setup my official there."

Currently, Diggs has no timetable for a decision and says that it could come at any point after his visits are made.

"I'll just know when I wake up in the morning before school and that school is just on my mind and in my heart," he said. "The latest would be the Army All-American game and the earliest, I couldn't really say, but I'll definitely take all five of my official visits."

Diggs is still scheduled to play in the Army All-American game in January and is excited about the opportunity to compete with some of the nation's top prospects.

"Playing in that game is awesome, it was always a goal of mine to play in that game," he said. "I was invited to both games, the Under Armour and the Army game but the Army game was way more prestigious to me and meant more to me. The whole thing they do with the Army guys and everything, it meant a whole lot to me."


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