Terrapin Tuesday: The Impact Of Stefon Diggs And Deon Long

Stroll around the University of Maryland campus for a bit, and it won’t be hard to figure out who the “Big-Man-On-Campus” is. He makes small plays look interesting, turns short gains to big gains, and is lightning in a bottle every time he touches the ball.

That man is none other than Stefon Diggs.

Since he stepped on campus, the lights have been on him to deliver, and he has yet to disappoint. His big play capability matched with his work ethic is a recipe for success. The most impressive part is the leadership role he took on, brought about by coach Randy Edsall naming him a captain. Edsall is not one to willingly name a sophomore a captain, so when something like this happens, you know the player is truly special, on and off the field.

If you heard a big groan on Saturday night, it likely came from the Maryland area, as Deon Long and Stefon Diggs went down with season-ending leg injuries. Diggs suffered a fractured fibula, while Long broke his fibula and tibia. These injuries require surgery, along with months of recovery and rehab. The two players should return next season at full strength, but the impact this season could effectively end what might have been a special year for the Maryland Terrapins, in their final season in the ACC.

In case you may not know the exact impact these two players have for the Terps offense, let’s run through some stats to show exactly how productive these two were for the offense:

Stefon Diggs on the season caught 34 passes for 587 yards and three touchdowns, while Deon Long caught 32 passes for 489 yards and one touchdown. Combined, the two have caught 66 passes for 1,076 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, compare that to the rest of the team. Levern Jacobs is the next leading receiver with 13 receptions for 245 yards and a touchdown, with Brandon Ross catching 14 passes for 162 yards. Dave Stinebaugh has caught 11 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns; Nigel King has caught eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown; Amba Etta-Tawo has caught eight passes for 87 yards; Malcolm Culmer has caught three passes for 47 yards; Kenneth Goins has caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown; Jacquille Veii has caught four passes for 12 yards, and Albert Reid has caught a pass for nine yards. Combined, this group has 65 receptions for 888 yards and five touchdowns.

Think about it. Nine other receivers and runningbacks have one less reception than Diggs and Long combined, and 188 less receiving yards. They have only one more touchdown than the two combined. Diggs and Long make up 50% of the receptions, 55% of the receiving yards, and 44% of the receiving touchdowns.

Still don’t think these two make a huge impact? Take a look at their impact on the offense in total. The offense has gained 3,079 yards in total. Diggs has 632 total offensive yards, while Long has 507 yards in total. That combines for 1,139 total yards of offense between the two. Two players make up 27% of the total offense. There are teams that have five players who make up that total, let alone two players.

When you factor in Diggs’ ability to return kicks, the impact reaches the entire team. Diggs and Long see bracket coverage with some double teams up top, helping other receivers get open. Without these two, the offense will be challenged to get others involved, and will cause for a tough road down the stretch.

The season is by no means over, but losing two players that make this big of an impact is going to hurt them dearly. Combine that with the injuries on defense, and this season may turn into a nightmare. The Terps will take on Clemson on Saturday, and with these two players, it was already going to be a tough game, but now, it could turn into a nightmare.