When Fadil Diggs looked at his phone for the last time Tuesday night, it was well into Wednesday morning.
“I was still up at 3 a.m.,” Digg said.
Daylight didn’t help. Diggs, a senior football star at Woodrow Wilson High, still couldn’t make up his mind about his destination for college.
In the end, Diggs trusted his instincts, stuck with his original choice and signed a national letter of intent to attend Texas A&M on a full scholarship.
But the Tigers’ all-time leader in career sacks and four-star recruit by rivals.com said he had to defy his mom and overcome his own doubts to put his name on the paper that cemented his commitment to the Aggies of the Southeastern Conference.
“I really didn’t know what I was going to do,” Diggs said. “I finally just decided I had to go with my gut.”
Diggs, who led Woodrow Wilson to back-to-back South Jersey Group 3 titles, was one of six current or former Tigers who signed with NCAA Division I programs during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon in the school library.
Senior fullback/linebacker Muheem McCargo and senior defensive end Dyshier Clary signed with Temple. Senior wide receiver Malik Harvey signed with Northern Illinois.
Also signing were two members of the Tigers’ 2018 championship team, wide receiver Naiem Simmons and offensive lineman Miles Frazier, both of whom did postgraduate work this school year at Milford Academy in Connecticut. Simmons signed with Wagner, and Frazier with Florida International.
“I feel like a parent sending my kids out into the world,” Woodrow Wilson coach Preston Brown said. “Everybody sees the end result, and that’s amazing. But the journey, nobody really understands what it has been like for these six young men.
“They all have an infectious spirit that warms my heart. They are going to do wonderful things in life.”
Clary and Harvey were late bloomers. Harvey played just two seasons of varsity football and was a role player as a junior. He blossomed this season with 12 touchdown catches as well as five interceptions.
Clary didn’t play football until his sophomore year, when Brown said he “tricked him” into thinking the sport would help his basketball career.
“Now I have a passion for football,” Clary said.
Clary and McCargo stuck with Temple even after former Owls assistant Francis Brown, a Camden native and their primary recruiter, joined the Rutgers program following the hiring of new Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano.
“Temple has a plan for me,” Clary said.
McCargo said he never wavered from his decision to attend Temple.
“It just felt like home,” McCargo said.
A 5-foot-11, 200-pound athlete, McCargo excelled on both sides of the football, setting school records for tackles with 354 (breaking Brown’s mark) and touchdowns with 49.
“I’m most proud of leaving a legacy, setting a standard for the guys who are up and coming,” McCargo said.
Diggs set the school record for career sacks with 43 ½ and also caught 103 passes for 1,561 yards and 19 touchdowns.
“The thing that sets these two apart from all the legends is that they won two titles,” Brown said of Diggs and McCargo.
A dynamic pass rusher, Diggs had 30-plus offers. He committed to Texas A&M in May, citing his relationship with defensive assistant Elijah Robinson, a Woodrow Wilson graduate.
Diggs visited Maryland this past weekend. His mom thought College Station, Texas, was too far from home. He liked Penn State and Florida.
On Wednesday morning, Diggs sat at the kitchen table with four national-letter-of-intent papers in front of him. He considered Florida, Penn State and Maryland.
“But my hand just went to Texas A&M,” Diggs said. “My mom, she wanted me to be closer. But I said, ‘I’m a grown man. I can make this decision.’ "
His mom, Toma Robinson, came around, flashing an ‘Aggie Nation’ T-shirt when Diggs signed his letter of intent.