Rookie watch: Diggs vs. Duke

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
4:00
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Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs and Miami running back Duke Johnson have emerged as two of the best all-purpose players in the entire nation so far this season.

That makes them the early frontrunners to watch for the ACC Rookie of the Year Award.

So how do they stack up against each other? Here is a little tale of the tape.

Stefon Diggs

ACC rankings: No. 2, all-purpose yards (160.5 ypg); No. 5, punt returns (11.8 ypg); No. 9, receiving yards per game (64.8 ypg).

Top national ranking: No. 12, all-purpose yards.

Totals: 39 plays, 642 yards, three touchdowns.

Highlights: Diggs won ACC Rookie of the Week honors this week after tallying 201 all-purpose yards in a 31-21 loss to No. 8 West Virginia. Diggs had a team-high 113 receiving yards on three receptions, including touchdown catches of 42 and 56 yards against the Mountaineers. Diggs also had 25 punt return yards and 63 kickoff return yards. Diggs has two 200-yard all-purpose days this season. The other came against UConn, when he had 223 all-purpose yards -- the most by a Maryland true freshman since 1992.

Of note: Diggs is averaging 21.6 yards per catch to lead all receivers in the ACC with 10 or more catches this season. Of the top-100 ranked receivers in the NCAA stats, only four players are averaging more yards per reception than Diggs. ... Diggs also is averaging 16.46 yards per play. Of the top-20 ranked players in the nation, only Marqise Lee of USC is averaging more (17.11 ypg).

Duke Johnson

ACC rankings: No. 1, all-purpose (209.5 ypg); No.2, kickoff returns (30.4 ypg); No. 3, scoring among non-kickers (9 ppg); No. 3, rushing (80 ypg).

Top national ranking: No. 1, all-purpose yards.

Totals: 65 plays, 838 yards, six touchdowns.

Highlights: Johnson has won two ACC Rookie of the Week honors this season and has amassed 200 or more all-purpose yards in three of the first four games of the year to lead all ACC players. ... Johnson's 643 yards on the season account for 40 percent of the Canes’ 1,602 total all-purpose yards. ... Johnson already has four 50-plus yard touchdown runs. That equals the total of the entire 2011 team.

Of note: In FBS football so far this season, 833 players have at least one touchdown. Of those, only two have scored more than Johnson. ... He also is one of two ACC players with a receiving, rushing and return touchdown in a game this season (Giovani Bernard at North Carolina is the other). In the opener against Boston College, Johnson became the first Miami freshman running back to rush for 100 or more yards in his first college game since Clinton Portis in 1999.

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