For nine months, Maryland star wide receiver Stefon Diggs has waited to play in another football game.
Monday, he takes another step toward doing that.
The Terps begin preseason practice Monday, and Diggs will be a full participant for the first time since he suffered a spiral fracture in his right leg in October, an injury that sidelined him for the final six games of his sophomore season and for the majority of spring practice.
Diggs, who had 34 catches for 587 yards and three touchdowns in seven games last year, sat down during Big Ten media days last week in Chicago to talk about his comeback.
What's the schedule been like for you this summer?
A normal day [includes] early wake-ups. I had class from 8-9 [a.m.]. Got to eat before that because I had lifting from 10 until 12 and don't get out of there until 1. Relax. Got class again. Make sure you eat. Then class again. And then we'd go get on the field if possible and do some minor stuff just to stay sharp — some lateral work, some cone drills, some catching, just to stay sharp. If you take a day off, it's a day lost, so we tried to focus on the little things even when we had some time off.
How's the leg feel?
I'm 110 percent. This is the best shape I've ever been in, the best I've ever felt going into camp, and I just looking forward to playing football. There's nothing like putting your cleats on, lacing them up and getting to compete against another team or other guys that live the same dream as you.
What's the backstory with you? People can see what you do on the football field. But what's the story behind Stefon Diggs?
As far as my story, my father passed when I was 14 years old. He started me with football when I was 5 years old. I'm 20 now, so you can do the math on how long I've been playing this sport, and how much I love this sport shows. I'm very enthusiastic on the field, very charismatic, and I bring a lot of positive energy. No matter if we just got scored on or are down by 20, I'm going to bring the same energy to the game because I love the game of football, and I feel like putting my best foot forward is the best thing to do before each and every play and each and every game. I love my siblings. I love my little brother, Trevon Diggs [a rising junior at Avalon], who I think is a star. Hopefully he has some great things happen for him. He's got a lot of offers right now. I'm just trying to keep him focused on what's important because I was in the same position, and I know what it's like. That's why I really wanted to stay home [and go to Maryland], because I knew it was going to happen that way, and I just wanted to be there for him and to show him what's important, and that was part of my decision to stay home because I don't have a father right now. I just have a wonderful mother who does both roles and works both roles, and I just miss her right now. That's why I'm talking about her so much. But I just can't get wait to get back home and get ready to work.
What were the main goals for you this summer aside from getting the leg healthy? What were the main things you felt like you needed to improve on?
I just focused on my all-around game — speed, how fast you get out of your breaks, catching, blocking. There's no specific thing I want to focus on. I just want to become an all-around better receiver and just keeping moving forward.
So what's something you did this summer that would get Maryland fans excited? Is there anything you did during workouts you were particularly excited about?
We did a lot of work, so I can't really single out one thing. It was just a lot of hard work, and it never stopped. So if I was going to say anything, I would say the amount of days I put in because I put in [work] every day of the summer. Every chance I got, I put in work.