Vontae Diggs brings experience and drive to the UFL Memphis Showboats

Linebacker Vontae Diggs, 2023 USFL New Orleans Breakers (USFL Photo)
Linebacker Vontae Diggs, 2023 USFL New Orleans Breakers (USFL Photo)

When asked about joining the Memphis Showboats at their Arlington training camp, Vontae Diggs was thankful.

“I like to thank Coach DeFilippo and the organization for drafting me,” Diggs said. “I’m happy to be across the stripes.”

Linebacker Vontae Diggs came to the UFL’s Memphis Showboats after playing for the USFL New Orleans Breakers in 2023 and being selected by the Memphis Showboats during the 2024 UFL dispersal draft on January 5, 2024. In the 2023 USFL season, Diggs racked up 69 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions (tied for second in the USFL).

Diggs has been a staple of non-NFL football leagues, spending two years with the Edmonton Elks in the Canadian Football League, where he won the team’s “Most Outstanding Rookie” award in 2019, and with the Toronto Argonauts in 2020 and 2021. After his time in Canada, Diggs came back to the USA and joined the USFL.

Diggs grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois, attending Downers Grove North High School and signing with the UConn Huskies, where he played 48 games, tallying 77 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, in his senior season.

Upon graduation, he scored a tryout with the Washington Redskins but could not gain a foothold in the NFL. Diggs would turn to the AAF (Atlanta Legends) and Arena Football League (Columbus Destroyers) for pro football playing time.

Now that Vontae Diggs is with the UFL, he feels he is finally in a league with lasting power.

“The UFL is the most stable thing I’ve been a part of other than the CFL,” Diggs said. “I played in the AAF, and that didn’t last. I played in Arena League, and that didn’t last. I’ve done everything that you can think of, and it’s just this right here. (UFL) I feel like they’ve actually done a great job to make sure that this would be something to last, and I really appreciate the guys that have done it.”

Diggs sees the teams around him, and he thinks the league is flush with talent.

“If you look around all eight teams, we really have enough talent to have 12, 13, 14 teams on site,” Diggs said. “Every team in the league is an all-star team, in my opinion. They all have great players, from the first team all the way down to the fourth team.”

With the XFL and USFL joining to create the UFL, a rivalry may have been created between players from these former leagues. Is this rivalry real?

“One hundred percent,” Diggs confirmed. “The rivalry between the USFL and XFL is real and will always be there.”

“You know, those guys think they’re better. Quite frankly, we are better,” Diggs added. “It is what it is. But at the same time, we’re all in the same league now. So, it’s kind of a rivalry between everyone… It’s a healthy rivalry. And I liked the fact that they’re even opening up the first game of this league with the two champions and two teams playing.”

“I think that’s going to set the tone as well, for that little cross-league rivalry,” Diggs predicted.

Diggs views Showboats training camp as a crucial step towards the main event, taking it seriously while studying the playbook and mentoring younger players. His motivation remains the ability to get back on the line of scrimmage.

However, Diggs says his new son is also important to him.

“My biggest motivator coming into the season has definitely been my son. I had him in July, right after the season… He’s been at the gym with me every day. He goes everywhere with me, I call him 15 times a day.”

Diggs spoke affectionately about his young son, clearly showing his deep love for him. This coming UFL season, when you witness Diggs sacking a quarterback, just remember who he is doing it for.

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