COLUMBIA, S.C. — Spur, linebacker, safety: Jordan Diggs has worn a few hats during his four years at South Carolina.
Under first-year coach Will Muschamp, Diggs will play safety. At least that was the plan Monday when he spoke with reporters during the Gamecocks media day.
“I’m meeting with the safeties. I get reps with the safeties. Individual, I’m with the safeties. My main focus is going out there and attacking the safety role,” Diggs said. “If coach has something else for me to do, that’s exactly what I’ll jump on.”
Diggs was forced to miss spring practice after suffering a shoulder injury so he’s approaching preseason camp with a positive attitude.
“I’m really trying to take in everything about the process, really enjoy it, trust that I’m going to be all right,” he said. “I’ve got faith in the shoulder, it feels strong. I’m really just going to take the plays, learn everything I can, study and be consistent. I’m just going to enjoy the process.”
The senior from Fort Myers, Fla., has appeared in every game over the past three seasons. For his career, he’s recorded 115 tackles and an interception.
Diggs wants to make the most of this opportunity in 2016. After all, it’s the last one he’s got at South Carolina.
“I’m coming to camp (and) I’m coming to work. Whatever the coaches have out there for me, whatever position they want me to play, whatever they want me to do,” he said. “If they need me to help this team, that’s what I’ll do.”
The safety position is one of the Gamecocks most experienced. Along with Chaz Elder and Chris Moody, Diggs is one of three senior safeties.
It’s a far less seasoned group at cornerback. Beyond Rico McWilliams and Chris Lammons (who doubles as a safety), the other cornerbacks are young and inexperienced.
Junior college transfer JaMarcus King will be counted as a contributor during his first season on campus.
“We really liked (King’s) athleticism, his movement skills, his top-end speed, finishes down field and has really good ball skills,” Muschamp said. “He can finish on plays down the field and has really good tape as well. Extremely bright young man.
“As I told him in the recruiting process — I make no promises in recruiting — all I can promise you is an opportunity. It’s your job to go take advantage of the opportunity, so he needs to go take advantage of the opportunities that he’s going to have.”
The four veteran linebackers will have an opportunity to fill the void created by Skai Moore, who’s out for the season with a neck injury.
“We talk about that,” said Bryson Allen-Williams, who’s listed as the starting strong-side linebacker. “Me, John (Walton), T.J. (Holloman) and Larenz (Bryant), we all talk about how we have to divide the load.
“Skai, he brought a lot to this team, he’ll probably go down as one of the greatest in (school) history, but we’ve just got to go out there and divide the load amongst each other.”
Muschamp also hopes to divide the load among the defensive linemen.
“A big guy runs out of gas and he’s done,” he said. “We don’t want our big guys to play over 6-8 snaps in a row. Unfortunately, with tempo nowadays, you can’t always get guys out of the game, but you’ve always got to have a plan, to have a healthy rotation, especially early in the year, as hot as it gets. You can never have enough.
“One of the most exerting things as a player is pass rushing. When a guy pass rushes over and over, he really gets spent, so you’ve got to have a good plan going in. You can never have enough guys up front.”