Feb 12, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT
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 SI.com, 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 SI.com. “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.