By RON HIGGINS, Journal Sports
OXFORD, Ms. – LSU’s 62-point beatdown of Grambling on Sept. 9 was in the books, Tigers’ coach Brian Kelly had finished his post-game media conference.
The press gathered three-deep around a lectern waiting for player interviews. Suddenly, the crowd parted as junior running back Logan Diggs stepped in front of the battery of TV cameras and bright lights.
Since this was Diggs’ first time to talk to the media covering LSU after he transferred from Notre Dame on May 3, it was a bit of a shock when a smallish, pleasant-faced, bespectacled and polished young man thoughtfully and intelligently answered questions about his Tigers’ debut of 115 yards rushing and one TD on 15 carries.
This is the first thing you learn about the 6-foot, 221-pound Diggs, a former New Orleans Rummel High star. He speaks softly but runs loud.
Heading into Saturday’s SEC West Division showdown between No. 12 LSU (3-1, 2-0 SEC West) at No. 20 Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1 SEC West) here today at 5:30 p.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Diggs is the SEC’s third-leading rusher averaging 84.33 yards per game with 253 yards on 33 carries for a healthy 6.66 yards per carry.
After missing the season-opening loss vs. Florida State because of a hamstring injury that had been nagging him since last spring at Notre Dame before he transferred, Diggs has started the last three games for the Tigers and stabilized the team’s running attack that’s ranked third in the SEC averaging 191.75 yards per game.
“I really needed my burst back,” Diggs said of why LSU head coach Brian Kelly decided to rest Diggs vs. Florida State. “That was the only thing that was missing. I’m very grateful to the coaches and training staff for making sure.”
Kelly had no problem starting Diggs as soon as he was healthy. After all, Diggs was signed by then-Notre Dame head coach Kelly in December 2020 and played his freshman season in 2021 under Kelly before he jumped to LSU to replace the fired Ed Orgeron.
“We were looking for somebody that could change the dynamics of our (Notre Dame) running back room and we liked just liked the way he played the game,” Kelly said of his original recruitment of Diggs.
“He was somebody that that had an edge to him. He had the skills to play at the highest level. And he was a really good student.”
Even with LSU finally offering Diggs a scholarship a few days before the December 2020 early signing period, Diggs stuck to his earlier commitment. A Notre Dame education and a legitimate chance of being able to crack the running back rotation were too much for Diggs to turn down.
All in all, he had two solid seasons for the Fighting Irish despite battling flu that sidelined him for half of his freshman season and then undergoing post-spring practice 2022 surgery for a torn labrum that slowed the start to his sophomore season.
As a freshman in 2021, he ran for 230 yards and three TDs on 52 carries and had 6 catches for 56 yards and one TD. Diggs led the team in carries with 165 as a sophomore in 2022 and was the team’s second-leading rusher with 820 yards and four TDs.
When he began battling a hamstring injury last spring, Diggs surmised he may need a fresh start.
“I felt like I kind of hit like a plateau,” Diggs said. “I wasn’t excelling or getting any better. I felt like I wanted a new challenge. I wanted that new challenge and there was no other place to go but to the SEC and be able to play the best of the best competition every single week.”
So, when Diggs put his name in the transfer portal last April 27 five days after Notre Dame’s spring, Kelly hopped on him immediately.
Diggs wanted to play the last years of his college career in a locale convenient for his family members and friends to see him play in person.
Though she made many trips to South Bend, no one is happier to have Diggs back home than his mother AJ who has been his guiding light and inspiration every step of his journey.
As a single mother raising her two boys, AJ Diggs earned a degree from Nichols State in 2010 while working.
For almost 7½ years, she worked as a registered medical assistant for the Ochsner Health System. Then, she worked just more than four years as a Disability Analyst for the state of Louisiana.
She not only provided for her sons, but she set the bar for them on how to attack life no matter the circumstances.
“My mom is my backbone,” Diggs said. “She sacrificed so much for me and my brother. She made sure that we had a roof over our heads and had food on the table every night. She just taught me to never quit and just to keep going no matter how hard times may get. Rely on your faith in God and continue to push through it.”
About a year ago, with her kids fully raised, AJ Diggs did something that thrilled her sons. She became a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines.
“My mom can really sing and had dreams of being on Broadway,” Diggs said. “She also always wanted to be a flight attendant. She had the confidence, the strength and the faith to do something different and she went to chase one of her dreams. That gave me the confidence to do the same thing (deciding to transfer to LSU).”
6 Tackles for loss for Ole Miss in each of its four games this season
12 is the number of players on LSU’s current roster who’ve played a game at Ole Miss
22 Consecutive games with a pass reception for LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers
22.4: Seconds per play for Ole Miss, the 5th fastest in the FBS
400: Yards or more total offense for LSU QB Jayden Daniels in three games in his career, second behind Joe Burrow’s school record of six games.
Contact Ron at email@example.com