Bradwell Institute football player Ziere Diggs signed a letter of intent Tuesday at BI to play at Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C.
The all-around utility player last season had five carries for 56 yards and one touchdown, 14 receptions for 77 yards and 35 total tackles, and also returned 11 kickoffs for 337 yards.
Diggs said when he first visited Methodist, he felt an immediate connection with the school’s coaching staff.
“From the minute I was there, I felt already at home,” he said. “They have over 12 coaches, and they keep track of you and your work. All the football players have a notebook they take to the classes, and they make sure you are on top of your grades.”
Diggs, who plans to study computer science or programming, said the coaching staff first looked to place him as a wide receiver.
“But later on, they said they need help in the secondary, and they told me I could make an impact as a corner,” he added.
Former Tiger offensive coordinator Chris Reese said Diggs brings unique talent to the field.
“He could do it all … but you are a unique athlete … Methodist is getting a good athlete, but as everyone mentioned, they are getting an even better young man,” Reese said.
According to ncsasports.org, Methodist plays in the NCAA’s Division III and is a member of the USA South Athletic Conference. Last season, the Monarchs went 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference, per mumonarchs.com. The program has increased its win total each of the last three seasons.
According to BI paraprofessional Misty Barnes, Diggs used to be a cut-up in class who didn’t take his academic work too seriously. However, he came into senior year with the goals of getting into college and playing football and wanted to know how to accomplish that.
“I said, ‘Well, son, you are going to have to get to work … you are going to have to study and you are going to have to do your work,’” Barnes said. “The next thing you know, he started studying … you know when a student is studying because his grades started to improve … he still had his little group in the classroom, so I ended up pulling him right by my desk … he was mad, but his grades shot up … he started making the highest test scores in the class. I am very proud of him because he met his goals.”
Diggs’ mother, Lorraine Ellison, said it is overwhelming to see her son grow up and that she trusts he will do well.
“He is going to be out there on his own, but he should know I’m always with him,” she said. “I know I can’t be with him always, but my guidance will be with him and that is what I trust … he is a good kid.”