Stefon Diggs: Portrait of a Playmaker

Stefon Diggs: Portrait of a Playmaker

Stefon Diggs is the perfect portrait of a playmaker. He’s an artist on the football field, using his route running and circus catches as the brushstrokes that complete his aesthetically pleasing game. Diggs is master at creating separation against defensive backs, and in 2017 he became the fastest Minnesota wide receiver to 200 receptions, breaking the records set by Percy Harvin and Hall of Famer Randy Moss. We caught up with the talented 25 year old to see how he separates himself from the rest, on and off the field.

Q: Why did you choose to play college football at Maryland?

A: I chose to stay home and play at Maryland because I have brothers and a lot of family there. We lost our father when I was around 14, so I wanted to stay close to my little brothers to keep another male figure in their lives who could show them the way. Maryland wasn’t, and isn’t, the most glamorous for a lot of people, but I wanted to go somewhere where I knew it was going to work out like it was supposed to, and if you have the ability and work ethic, you can accomplish all your goals at any school you want.

Q: What advice do you have for high school athletes going through that same college recruiting process?

A: I would tell high school athletes to make the best decision for themselves. Do whatever you feel is going to make you happy in the long run because you have to live with that decision – not your mom, your uncle, or anybody else in your life. You can’t let them push you to go to a school that you don’t want to go to, because at the end of the day you have to make the best decision for you.

Q: As a fifth-round pick, did you have a chip on your shoulder coming into the league?

A: 100 percent. When I declared for the draft, I was projected to go in the third to fifth round range. But I didn’t think I was going to last all the way to the fifth round because I have a certain skill set and talent, and I was betting on somebody taking a chance on me. It definitely put a chip on my shoulder because I felt like I was better than that. I knew I was better than that. It’s funny because I had an interview at the combine and I said I’m one of the best receivers in this draft, and people kind of laughed at me — they looked at me like I was crazy. But I believed that and I knew it then — I’m not somebody who will back away or shy away from the things I say. I said it and I stood on it. Now that the smoked cleared, I’m one of the best receivers, if not the best receiver, who came out of that draft. I had one opportunity to make the most of myself and I took it seriously. I wanted to make the most out of my chance.

Q: What goes into the art of running a route?

A: I would say the art of route running is really about preparation. It’s about being where you need to be and setting up a timing with the quarterback. I take route running seriously because I love getting open and I love creating separation — that’s my game. So, the art of it is really just honing in on your craft and perfecting your timing, spacing, and catching abilities.

Q: Why do you wear the adiZero 8.0 cleat?

A: First off, it’s light. When you’re a wide receiver looking for a cleat, you want something that’s extremely light weight and flexible. The adiZero gives you some flexibility but also has material that fits snug — It’s built for comfort and speed.

Q: You’re famous for having creative pre-game cleat designs, do you have a favorite?

A: My Snoop Dogg ones were my favorite. It was my first time playing in L.A. at the Coliseum and I wore Snoop Dogg cleats. It really doesn’t get much better than that. Also, when I was younger, my mom called me Snoop, and my dad called me Dog, those were their nicknames for me.

Q: Which part of your game makes you stand out from the rest of the wide receivers in the league?

A: Personality. I play with a lot of passion, I play with a chip on my shoulder, and I’m charismatic. Out on the field I play free and with a whole lot of positive energy. I’ve got playmaking ability and a certain talent that God gave me where I can make a play at any given time, and players don’t always have that. I feel like I’m highly favored in a lot of situations.

Q: You were the hero of the Minneapolis Miracle, one of the craziest playoff plays in league history, what was going through your mind during that play?

A: I just got chills thinking about it. It was something that I’ll never forget, and I’ll never get tired talking about because it’s a feeling that very few people will experience. It was like hitting a buzzer beater in basketball, but in football, things like that don’t happen. I’ll never forget the feeling of running into the end zone because it was something that changed my outlook on things. People tell you anything can happen and that you should never give up, and those words are so small. But in the smallest situations on the biggest stage, those words were true. It’s true that you should never give up and give it everything you got until the whistle blows.

Q: What does it mean to you to be the next Eastbay cover athlete?

A: It means a lot because I remember when I was growing up, I used to grab like 20 Eastbay catalogs because I knew everything was in there. I actually used to circle the things I wanted in the catalog. If you’re an athlete, you know Eastbay has everything in one place. It means a lot and it’s an honor. I’m happy to be on the cover and hopefully we can do it again.

7-on-7 Football: Best Gear for the Upcoming Year

7-on-7 Football: Best Gear for the Upcoming Year

One-handed catches, highlight-reel jukes, and in-your-face celebrations – the non-stop action of 7-on-7 football is back. Eastbay knows that 7-on-7 football comes down to two things, speed and style, so we’re here to highlight some top-tier gear that’ll look and feel as good as you do after burning that cornerback or making the game-winning interception.

CLEATS

Nike Vapor Untouchable 3 Pro

Built for the dynamic playmaker, the Nike Vapor Untouchable combines mesh and synthetic skins that let your foot breathe while still maintaining the durability you need. Its sleek design comes in a variety of colorways, showcasing the cleat’s electric speed on the field. Finally, the one-piece bootie has a tongueless construction, creating a sock-like fit that wraps around your ankle for comfort and control. If you’re the playmaker on offense or the chasedown artist on defense, then the Vapor Untouchable is the cleat for you.

adidas adiZero 8.0

The adidas adiZero 8.0 was made for players meant to stand out. From the stimulating Snowcone Pack colorways to the zebra-like 3-stripe life design, the adiZero 8.0 prioritizes uniqueness over all. Along with the personality this cleat brings to the gridiron, it was also specifically built with one thing in mind – speed. The knitted bootie upper reduces weight and the Sprintframe plate propels you forward with every step. For the player looking to make plays with speed and style, the adiZero 8.0 is right up your alley.

Under Armour Spotlight MC

True to its name, this cleat was constructed for athletes who crave the spotlight and live for the big moment. The Under Armour Spotlight MC is one of the most comfortable and lightweight cleats on the market. It features a SuperFoam insole that absorbs shock and utilizes the combination of bladed and conical studs to enhance your sprints, cuts, and stop with sharp acceleration. For game-long comfort and the ability to stop on a dime, you have to grab a pair of Spotlights.

GLOVES

Nike Vapor Knit 3.0

These gloves are the epitome of cool and comfortable. The Nike Vapor Knit 3.0 features a high-quality knit back that ensures airflow and snug support. They also have a modern, layered overlay design that’s stylish and practical, increasing durability and fit. This receiver glove will fit and feel like a second skin on the field.

Nike Vapor Jet 5.0

The most famous glove in football just got a little better. The Nike Vapor Jet 5.0 features lightweight padding around the thumb for protection from defenders while utilizing Nike’s classic magnigrip palm material that top players trust. These gloves were built to make the impossible catches possible.

adidas adiZero 5-Star 8.0

Looking for the stickiest gloves in the game? Look no further than the adiZero 5-Star 8.0. These gloves emphasize adidas’ famous GRIPTACK palm technology, providing the ultimate grip while catching the football. The stylish design on the gloves complements the unique colorways adidias showcases on their cleats. So, if you’re rocking the adiZero 8.0s on the feet, then you must get the gloves to match.

Under Armour Spotlight

Last but not least, Under Armour has created a pair of gloves chock-full of technology to help you make the tough catch in traffic. The Under Armour Spotlight gloves are made with high-compression HeatGear fabric that provides ventilation, while the mircoknit fabric allows for stretch and recovery. UA GlueGrip technology keeps the ball in your palms, and Power Catch panels limit distractions so you can make the precise play. These receiver gloves are lab tested and battle ready.

ACCESSORIES

Nike Hyperstrong Core Padded Forearm Shivers

When showing up to do battle on the gridiron, you better come protected. Nike’s Hyperstrong Forearm Shivers shield you from defenders without losing an inch on your range of motion.

Jordan Skull Cap

Show out in style with the Jordan Skull Cap. Dri-Fit fabric wicks away sweat to keep you dry and the tight, dynamic fit allows you to wear it under any type of hat or helmet.

Eastbay is your one-stop-shop for all things 7-on-7 football, so make sure to check out eastbay.com and browse our full selection of gear to help you elevate your game.