As thunderous chants of “Stefon Diggs” rang out through the Comcast Center during the Feb.5 men's basketball game against North Carolina however, few Terps fans could've predicted what went down Friday.
Standing in front of a capacity crowd at Looney's Pub Friday night in College Park, Diggs stepped up to the microphone with Florida and Ohio State hats sitting on the table before him.
“I wanna win championships. I wanna win bowl games. And where else is a better place to do it than your city,” said Diggs as he reached down into his bag, pulling out a black snap-back Maryland hat.
As the crowd of hundreds packed into Looney's erupted in a deafening roar, a crowd of Diggs' family and friends joined in the celebration. Chants of “Let's go Maryland” suddenly grew louder as the newest Terp grabbed the microphone and joined in.
A number of age old Maryland chants then broke out, with Diggs and his mother even dancing to the beat on stage. The crowd finally decided to wrap up the noise with an appropriate tribute to the night, the “Maryland Victory Song.” Fitting, for grabbing a star like Diggs was a much-needed victory for the program and for the city.
“I wanna do what no one has ever done,” said Diggs. “I wanna make people stay home. I wanna make people do it where they're from … your city's always behind you so it's only right to give back.”
Diggs, who has been confusing fans everywhere for the past few months, admitted after his announcement that he had some fun with the process. “I played a little bit on Twitter, I'm not gonna lie,” laughed Diggs. “I'm finally here though, this is my decision and I feel great.”
Among those who influenced the local star to stay home was new offensive coordinator, Mike Locksley, who just one month ago helped the Terps grab Diggs' teammate, running back Wes Brown. “He's a good guy and he helped guide me,” said Diggs' of his new coordinator. “He said even if you don't pick Maryland make sure you're comfortable where you're going and I respected him for that, as a man.”
Many would question the decision to pick a school coming off a 2-10 season and with numerous players transferring, but Diggs liked what he saw in the way Randy Edsall runs his team. “I feel like I will succeed here because he accepts nothing but your best,” said Diggs. “Some people have a problem with it, but there's nothing wrong with structure.”
Yet in the end, what did it for Diggs was the local love he received from the Maryland crowd. “You felt welcome. You felt like this is the place you needed to be,” he said. “I have the most supporters here and I feel like I'm gonna do it here … you gotta give respect to your hometown school. At the end it became more than just respect. It became where I belong.”