The Alabama receiver wanted to get that out of the way to save his relationship with his cornerback teammate.
The play drew quite the reaction as a photo surfaced of Sims appearing to make a one-handed highlight-reel catch reminiscent of former NFL great Randy Moss. It blew up even more when Sims posted the photo on his Instagram account.
The only problem was, Sims didn’t actually come down with the ball.
“No, I didn’t catch it,” Sims admitted Monday. “I just wanted to make him mad and put it on Instagram.”
The plan worked.
Sims said the undeserved credit he received from the photo eventually upset Diggs, who grew tired of people thinking the 6-foot-5 receiver got the best of him. Although, all jokes aside, the cornerback had a pretty good day himself.
According to Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Diggs earned the starting spot at left cornerback opposite of Anthony Averett on the Crimson Tide’s first-team defense during the scrimmage. The role is quite the achievement, considering Diggs spent the majority of his time at receiver last season before practicing exclusively with the defensive backs this spring.
“We're pleased with the progress that he's made,” Saban said following the scrimmage. “He's much more natural playing at corner than when we tried to play him at safety. That's where he played in high school. (He's) long, he has good toughness. He's a good tackler. Plays the ball well in the deep part of the field and did a good job of playing man-to-man.”
Diggs isn’t necessarily a stranger to the secondary. He split time at safety and receiver last fall before shifting primarily to receiver last season.
So far, the move's working out pretty well.
“He's doing very well,” Averett said. “He's a young guy, so there's a lot of things he needs to work on, a lot of things all of us need to work on, obviously. But he's doing very well... Sometimes you just have that knack, be natural at it, and that's what I feel like he has.”
The fact that Diggs has earned time as a starter should come as no shock. The rising sophomore joined the Tide as a four-star athlete and was rated as the No. 135 player in the 2016 class. The surprise comes in his switch to defense.
Diggs tallied 11 receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown during his freshman year. While his athleticism is unmistakable, the now cornerback’s versatility caught even his teammates off guard.
“Like, honestly. I didn't expect that when he first started playing corner, but he's developed into a real good corner,” Alabama safety Hootie Jones said. “He's starting to play big boy football, for real.”
Added Averett, "I feel like he picked it up quicker than I did. I was kind of similar to him, I played a lot of offense in high school and just transitioned to defense when I got here, so he's definitely taken that (move) very quickly, taken to it very well."
Even Sims has to admit, going up against Diggs during practice has been a challenge.
“He progressed every day,” Sims said. “He really amazes me every day in practice. He works. He makes me better. I make him better.”
During practice Monday, Diggs remained with the cornerbacks. Saturday, Saban said he still doesn’t know if Diggs’ position switch will be permanent, stating he would most likely come to a decision after looking at tape of the scrimmage.
Regardless of Saban’s decision, Diggs appears determined to get noticed anywhere on the field.
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