AUSTIN, Texas -- The message from Quandre Diggs was always clear.
"I'm going to be way better than you."
There wasn't a hint of doubt in his voice. Not even a crack of a smile on his face. Dead serious.
The guy he was telling that to turned out to be pretty good. Quentin Jammer, Diggs' brother, was an All-American at Texas and the fifth overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers, with whom he still plays.
"He always told me that," said Jammer, who is 14 years older than Diggs. "Even when he was in middle school playing football."
While Diggs might have been directing his words right at Jammer, he might have been saying it to any player he has ever gone against.
"He plays with that attitude," Jammer said. "You go out there against him and from the start he is going make sure your day is miserable."
Things have been anything but miserable for Diggs. He was one of 18 true freshmen to play in the season opener against Rice. And unlike many of the others, Diggs made significant contributions at cornerback and kick returner.
His play came as no surprise to his brother, who watched Diggs grow up in his hometown of Angleton, Texas.
"It was a neighborhood thing," Jammer said. "Everyone in the neighborhood knew the kind of talent he had. At 5 years old, he was all football and everyone in the neighborhood worked with him."
A couple of years later, Major Applewhite got his first look at look at Diggs.
"He was that way when I knew him when he was 7 years old, and I was Jammer's roommate," said Applewhite, a former UT quarterback and now the co-offensive coordinator. "He was running around in our apartment, knocking things over and just had no fear.
"He's always been a 'baller.'"
Which is why coaches have not hesitated to put Diggs on the field.
"He is just a guy you can put at any position and he would be a good football player," defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. "He has a knack for the game. We don't even look at him like he is in the same class as the other freshmen."
A relentless attitude and physical ability have elevated Diggs. And despite being only 5-foot-10, Diggs has shown he can work against bigger receivers.
"He knows what to do against guys like that," Jammer said. "He has been told."
What he has been told is to use that strength to intimidate the receiver from the opening snap.
"His physical nature has allowed him to play as a freshman corner," Applewhite said. "And then if he doesn't get the ball he's not afraid to hit someone."
Diggs has been equally intimidating against the run. Because of his quickness he is tough to block. That leads to him either making the tackle or pushing the play back inside, where a linebacker is waiting.
"He knows there is no such thing as a cover corner," Jammer said. "Do whatever you have to do to be that all-around player.''
If Diggs does that, he might be better than his brother.
"He might," Jammer said. "He is driven. The sky is the limit for him."
Carter Strickland covers University of Texas sports and recruiting for HornsNation.
Follow HornsNation's coverage on Twitter: @ESPNHornsNation