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Irish could add to secondary with Florida transfer Cody Riggs

Feb 12, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

Cody Riggs Cody Riggs

It appears that Notre Dame could end up adding another piece to the secondary with Florida cornerback/safety Cody Riggs exploring his transfer options. With Notre Dame adding just Drue Tranquill and Nick Watkins to the secondary, Riggs could be a great stop-gap option, adding a versatile member of Florida’s secondary.

Riggs decided to use his fifth year to explore his options, a move announced by Will Muschamp on Signing Day.

“Cody Riggs and his parents came to me and he’s going to finish up in May and transfer to another school to finish his last year of eligibility, wanted a fresh start,” Muschamp said. “And I appreciate his contributions to Florida.”

Riggs spoke with, telling Pete Thamel about the decision to leave the SEC and look elsewhere.

“This was the hardest decision I ever had to make,” Riggs told “I love my teammates and the fans here. I really feel awful about leaving my teammates, especially a young secondary. This was something that I needed to do.”

Riggs plans on using he graduation waiver to explore a graduate degree, telling Thamel that he’s hoping to pursue his MBA or a master’s in science in business. He’ll get his degree in May from Florida in Family Youth and Community Sciences, a field close to his heart. Riggs’ father, former NFL Pro Bowler Gerald Riggs, started and runs the non-profit Florida Youth Track and Field.

Still, there are likely football motivations at play here as well. Riggs has been a regular on the field for the Gators since his freshman season, but switched from cornerback to safety before suffering a season-ending injury during his junior year.

Riggs played safety in 2013 and started all 12 games for the Gators, making 51 tackles, including 6.5 TFLs. The 5-9, 190-pound Riggs has the versatility to play just about any position in the secondary, making himself a valuable part of any team’s 85-man roster.

Multiple outlets are reporting that Riggs is set to be on campus in South Bend today, meeting with the staff and going over his academic options. Riggs considered the Irish when he was a high-profile recruit out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, the same school that produced Corey Holmes.

Riggs ran the fastest time at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl before choosing Florida instead of Charlie Weis and the Irish. That speed could help the Irish not just in the secondary, but on special teams as well.

Notre Dame has the scholarship available, and the Irish could add Riggs and immediately have an option to play on the boundary side of the field, with Bennett Jackson departing. He’d likely compete with Cole Luke for a starting job, but clearly has the versatility to play safety and nickel back as well, a position Riggs played at Florida.

Riggs would join the Irish in summer school if things worked out. Notre Dame accepted senior transfer Alex Wulfeck from Wake Forest, so the situation certainly isn’t unprecedented.

  1. 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    sign him up.

    big-time athleticism, great family and from a solid high school. what’s not to like?

    I suppose there is always the prospect of discord in the locker room with a transfer like this by someone feeling displaced, but with talent like this kid has, hurt feelings seem to take a backseat to outright production.

    can’t blame him for wanting to get off the sinking ship that is UF’s football program, and maybe the academics will be what sells him on his move, since a free year of tuition towards an MBA from ND is a nice quid pro quo for enduring the cold climate.

    • dickasman - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:11 PM

      It would be pathetic if we accepted him. So we are the dumping ground for da “Gaterz” now like Miami oh is to us? No thank you. You made your decision 4 yrs ago now sit on it buddy. You ain’t that special.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        I’m sure that’s what Wisconsin was thinking about when Russell Wilson wanted to come for his 5th year, then they probably realized they would be stupid idiots if they turned him away. what does it matter that he only has one year of eligibility left? he’s already shown he can compete with the best of the best, so there is no question about his talent.

        this kid has top flight speed, coverage skills, balls skills and tackling skills. he probably has bow staff skills, nunchuku skills and computer hacking skills.

        ND won’t go for JUCO(s) but they haven’t ruled out the fifth year/grad student transfers, yet at least, so get him in.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        @4horsey…….The bow staff skills gave me a chuckle. Well done, sir.

      • tedlinko - Feb 12, 2014 at 5:47 PM

        Please stop responding to dick when he starts going on like this.

      • 1historian - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        neither are you

        har de har

  2. dickasman - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    This guys a midget. What’s he gonna do here? How da hell did he ever crack the line up at Florida? I say thanks but no thanks.

    Life is too short, too short too short too short. Don’t want no short short man ya dig. Hit up Miami OH

  3. odellm81 - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Can anybody explain to me why ND does not give it’s student athletes a 5th year to complete their undergrad? Even Stanford allows this (could also be a reason why they have improved so much).

    Think about it, an undergrad degree typically requires roughly 128 credit hours to complete. Even if you take 3 credit hours each summer (which all students athletes do), that still around 116 credit hours to complete in 8 semesters, breaking down to 14.5 credits per. However a player at any other institution would have to only complete around 11 credits per semester which is basically one less full course.

    This IMO is the biggest disadvantage that ND has to compete against and is a completely unnecessary requirement. Student athletes are NOT regular full time students and have many more time requirements. For those worried about players running out of eligibility before graduating and being forced out, there is a simple solution, only those red-shirted are put on the 5 year plan, while those who play as true freshmen are placed on the current 4 year plan.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      I can’t offer any insight, other than my guess that most players take more than 3 credits each summer, so they’re not really taking 14.5 during the fall semester while playing football.

      • italianirish - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:16 PM

        I believe they take 2 classes (6 hours) a summer, plus you need to have a minimum of 12 hours to be considered a full time student and participate in sports.

        Add that up for 4 years and that’s a minimum of 120 hours just for showing up. When I was a student in the early oughts, outside of second semester seniors, few people had fewer than 15 hours a semester–football players included. I think they add up pretty fast. Plus who would plan it out from the beginning to do the minimum so they could do a fifth year of undergrad? If you’re good enough to get offered a scholarship by ND at 17 years old, you probably think you’ll be in the NFL one day. Or if you’re smart enough to plan ahead that much, you’re probably thinking “Free ND MBA!”

    • ndoneill - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      I believe an ND degree is 120 hours, which you can get to with 8 semesters at a standard course load of 15 credit hours (5 regular lecture classes) per semester.

      As Italian Irish pointed out, they may take 6 credits over the summer. 4 summers (starting pre-fall camp freshman year) at 6 credits each means they only have to take 12 credits each semester to graduate on time. To be a full-time student you must take a minimum of 12 credits.

      So, by taking two classes over the summer and the minimum allowable classes per semester, you’re graduating in four years whether you like it or not (assuming you pass them all).

      • odellm81 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:56 AM

        What is this minimum allowable classes per semester that you are talking about? As far as I know that is not the NCAA rule, as the NCAA only requires students athletes complete 40% of their coursework by the end of their second year, 60 by their third, 80 by the end of their fourth and a fifth year to complete their degree. That means student athletes at other universities can take the same 6 credit hours during the summer and then only have to complete 9 semester hours in the fall and spring to remain eligible and graduate within 5 years (24 * 5 = 120).

        Obviously not all ND players would need five years to graduate (just like not all athletes at other universities need the extra year) but it would definitely help some of the student athletes while evening the playing field. Take Everett Golson for example, everyone knows his struggles in the classroom. He also red-shirted his freshmen year, so he could of been a perfect opportunity to allow a student athlete at ND a 5th year to complete his undergrad and it’s possible with a lighter work load he would not of made his big mistake. Same goes for Davaris Daniels.

      • irishpuma - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:13 AM

        odel you have to be a full time student to play ncaa sports, 9 credits does not make you a full time student.

      • ndoneill - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        It’s a Notre Dame rule. To be considered a full-time student you have to take a minimum of 12 credit hours.

    • irishpuma - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:09 AM

      Has it changed? It used to be 120 creds for degree, 15 a semester 4 years case closed, Coupled with 6 in the summer they could decrease to 12 units during the season which in just 4 years leaves them 12 units to the good (extra) now couple in the fact that many enroll early and you have a whole extra semester on top of everything else. I don’t see the problem. you can’t take less than 12 no matter what you do if you want to be eligible.

      • irishpuma - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:11 AM

        Oh and everyone takes college courses in high school now too so that might be good for another 6-12 units. Would a 5th year scholarship with no eligibility count against your 85? Could be a factor. I really think this is much to do about nothing, 96% of the team is graduating.

  4. Tim's Neighbor - Feb 12, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    “You made your decision 4 yrs ago now sit on it buddy. You ain’t that special.”

    Yes. Because no one ever goes to a different grad school than their undergrad. I hate feeding the trolls, but your ignorance on this one is too ridiculous not to point out.

  5. don74 - Feb 12, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    I read he is not coming this weekend as he could not get a flight. He and his parents will be visiting next weekend. I hope the temp moves out of the single digits for his visit.

    Something I find interesting are the number of sons of pro athlete’s that are on the rosters of ND and Stanford. Seems like it’s easy to convince a parent that played professionally the value of a degree.

  6. chaunce922 - Feb 12, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Hell yea, lock it up.

  7. dudeacow - Feb 12, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Well, if VanGorder’s focus is on stopping the run, and the secondary is the defense’s strength, this defense might have a chance of being decent.

  8. dudeacow - Feb 12, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    Actually, I don’t know if I like getting transfers from FCS teams.

  9. fnc111 - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    He picked Florida over ND because Weis was fired a month after he visited. I think he is committing this time. I’m sure Bobby Brown is advising him. Would be a great addition!

  10. fnc111 - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:27 PM


    Cody won’t see that much bad weather in his time if he comes north. He’ll be arriving in June and be gone after the bowl game. He has a shot at the NFL so he will be off training for the combine this time next year. Most likely at the IMG academy. This is a great way to get a stud here without him worrying about winter.

  11. ndoneill - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    My only question is would he really play that much? If he’s transferring to get more playing time (assuming Florida for a 5th year was also an option), isn’t he entering a crowded secondary? He already played a lot at Florida; I don’t know that he’d get that much more PT at Notre Dame since he’d at best be splitting time with Russel and Luke.

    • heartofgoldandblue - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:13 PM

      As far as I understand (only from a few articles I’ve read) the main reason he’s transferring is that he wants to play corner for his final season. I think it’s a little premature to assume that Luke has the boundary corner locked up already. This kid played a good amount his freshman year, and started the last two years for an SEC defense. There was serious talent that came in a CB and he was moved to safety. I like Luke a lot but hard to argue that an extremely gifted athlete like Riggs who has 3 yrs experience of serious playing time against SEC competition can’t at least give him a fight for the position, especially with a brand new defense coming in. Evens the playing field a bit…and if the Grad thing is indeed a factor, ND doesn’t have a half bad business school.

  12. obie1818 - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:54 PM


    Really!! Even if it’s a 1 out of 100 chance he’s any good we should take him. Would you rather have had some freshman with no experience?? We have scholarships available. Last year’s injuries proved sometimes ya just need bodies too. You never turn down potential!! Especially when it costs you nothing…..

    • NotreDan - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      oh futhermucker. don’t reply to dickie like he’s an actual human. are you new?

  13. oldschoollyons - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    I thought ND was above taking on, for a year, a guy who just wants to prep for the NFL. How does that help us build our secondary for the future? It just takes playing time away from first or second year players who could use the opportunity to develop. It is they, not he, who will be manning our secondary in the future.

    He’s too short; and if he doesn’t play as much as he wants to showcase his skills, he could become a cancer in the locker room. His talk of an MBA doesn’t pass the laugh test. At Florida he majored in playground skills. Puleeeze.

    Wulfect was taken on for a year because he offered a very specific skill that might help us last year in limited situations. He was a student and a high character guy.

    • dsharp86 - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      By saying Wulfect was a student and a high character guy you are implying Riggs is not. I don’t know him or if he is a fit for our team, but from what I read he went to a highly regarded academic high school, he is graduating college in 4 years (the norm at ND but not necessarily overall in top FBS programs), his Florida coaches have nothing but good things to say about him as he leaves, and he is the son of a former NFL player who runs a non-profit youth sports group. I wouldn’t be so quick to belittle him, especially his character, which I assume you know little about.

      Go Irish.

    • mediocrebob - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:16 AM

      Sounds like a guy who’s got a lot of experience against the best in the country. Put him in with a bunch of young CBs and he’s a veteran that can teach the young guys a lot about the game. That’s how it helps.

      Remember last year when everyone was crying bc if injuries and lack of depth? This helps that issue. It amazes me how quickly this fan base Xsan turn a positive into a negative for absolutely no reason at all.

  14. viktory2013 - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Well what the hell, however he might be, how much worse can he be than Jackson and Farley?

  15. irishpuma - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:25 AM

    Exactly Victory, Again the posters on here are ridiculous. You are talking about 4 star started 3 years for Florida in the SEC, we have open slots, all reports are that he gets to choose where he goes. In other words no program in the country will turn him down its his pick. Florida is upset he is leaving, He may want us and some don’t want him? He may take time away from a fresh or soph? so what the best play the rest get better. He has elite speed, we have a weak secondary. We lose no scholarship, we have slots and we can still offer a full scholarship next year as he will be gone. Competition is good, he may help the overall mindset, toughness, legit pedigree.

    The same people mad about our secondary and that we did not recruit enough would turn this freebie away? If he can’t be Luke or Kevare out great, that means they are better and we still have room for him to play at nickel, cover two etc. He can slide to Safety even if he does not want to and be our best safety on the field.

    He obviously is a smart kid, Mendoza one of the best Biz schools in country, gets a guaranteed admission and at least half of it paid for, second he gets more media exposure for his run at the NFL. For us it is no brainer, elite speed, pedigree, can contribute immediately, SEC proven, costs us nothing, will drive the rest of the secondary to get better. I hope he comes. Elite athletes under the Dome, thats what I like.

    • bernhtp - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      Good summary. There is approximately zero downside here and considerable upside.

      • irishpuma - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:00 AM

        Bern are we an item now? We have been agreeing on almost everything lately. love it!

        • bernhtp - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:16 PM

          Not quite an item. You need to look elsewhere for a butt boy. Maybe Dick is open a relationship.

          • irishpuma - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:39 AM

            Bern Why so vulgar I was talking about a platonic bromance!

    • domerboyirish - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      Once again I agree with bern. Well said. I think it would be terrific to get an experienced guy, from a great defense, in here with the new defensive staff.

    • irishdog80 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      We need…everyone needs…more speed in the secondary. Sign him up. ND is the best fit for his goals. In this case, an elite secondary with great coverage and recovery skills will buy time for our D-line to get up to speed.I want a defense that puts pressure on the other team…Riggs helps us get there.

    • viktory2013 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      Absolutely Puma, we don’t have anything to lose with this kid. Someone thought well enough of him to play four years at a prominent football program so put him in and give him a shot.

      Who knows, he might actually knock down a pass or make a tackle…or even turn and look for the ball!!!

      • irishpuma - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:02 AM

        Priceless, If he can teach our db’s to turn and look it is easily worth the price of tuition alone.

  16. ndunbound - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Most of the doubt regarding Riggs’ intentions seems to be based on a single Twitter post by Pat Dooley.

    Keith, can you provide some more info on this? How does Dooley know that the bottom line is that Riggs wants to play corner? Does Dooley have any proof of this or is he just speculating?

    If playing corner really is Riggs’ main motivation for transferring, I’d assume he’d go somewhere where the corner position is wide open. He must know there’s a chance he’ll play safety at ND. So if he does choose ND, that shows me he really is concerned about more than playing corner.

  17. 1historian - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    We have a scholarship available and a guy who has played in the SEC at a high level and is academically eligible would like to come here.

    And the problem is?

  18. irish4life79 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    No problem with this I think his experience alone will make our secondary better more depth at cb is a good thing exspecially with all the spread offenses out there oh yeah he can ball starter in the sec says a whole lot to me and who knows he might end up bein a difference maker speed tacklin ability 51 & 6.5tfl from the saftey spot in the talent laden sec is impressive dont know if we got a player on our team who could do that this is a win win for both parties get him here

  19. irishpuma - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:07 AM

    One more time if he can teach the Secondary to turn around when the ball is coming at them, that alone would be worth the price of tuition. I don’t care if he never saw the field after that. Plus it would add at least 5 years onto my lifespan without having to jump up and down, beat the dog and or lady and scream at my flatty (TV) every time the ball goes zipping by the back of one of our defenders head on the way to a catch or pass interference call. Notre Dame should sell sponsorship on the back of our DB’s helmets, that would pay for the stadium renovation in no time.

  20. 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    riggs has some intriguing metrics too. he’s got cornerback height, runs like the wind but is significantly thicker than the typical corner and hits like a safety. that’s an interesting mix to bring to any defense and reminds me of bob sanders a bit.

    if his only contribution to the 2014 squad is hammering into them that they have to be able run fast, hit hard and be tough on every play, than he has earned his year at ND. i’d expect his contributions to much more than this. also, it’s only a one year commitment, so the risk is lessened too.

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