Feb 19, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT
Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame sports information department officially announced the addition of Florida defensive back Cody Riggs. The graduate school transfer will join the Irish in summer school and play out his eligibility next season at Notre Dame.
The 5-foot-9, 190-pound defensive back signed a scholarship agreement with Notre Dame. Riggs played 40 career games at Florida, starting at both cornerback and safety in one of the best secondaries in the SEC. An injury ended his 2012 season after just two games, earning him a medical redshirt.
Riggs will complete his degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences in Florida this spring. That grants him immediate eligibility to play next season, which he’ll do for the Irish. He and Kelly released a joint statement today to make the move official.
“Cody Riggs is an outstanding player,” said Kelly. “He played a ton of football at Florida having started at both safety and corner back. Cody definitely brings veteran leadership and versatility to our team and defense.
“He will help us immediately but, more importantly, Cody is a great kid with a tremendous focus on both football and academics. His decision to complete his collegiate playing career and pursue a graduate degree at the University of Notre Dame speaks volumes about both our program and University.”
“I am very thankful for this opportunity,” said Riggs. “I fully intend to make the most of this opportunity by not only giving my absolute best effort, but also leading by example both on and off the field.
“Being on campus, meeting with the academic personnel and interacting with the Notre Dame players helped me dot the I’s and cross the T’s on what has been the toughest decision of my life. I am excited about working hard in the classroom and expanding my professional network in pursuit of a graduate degree from Notre Dame. I am equally excited to contribute on the field and make some big plays to help the team win games.”
Riggs comes to Notre Dame four years later than many expected, with the Irish among his finalists out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale. While he’ll only play a single season for Brian Kelly, he’s infusing veteran depth and leadership to a position group that will rely on an unproven starter to replace Bennett Jackson and a safety position that’s still sorting itself out.
Riggs has elite speed and plays with a physicalness that belies his relatively small stature. After starting all 12 games last year at safety for the Gators, Riggs has expressed a desire to play cornerback, the position he expects to play at the next level. There’s an opening opposite KeiVarae Russell, though he’ll compete with Cole Luke and Devin Butler, and can play as a slot or nickel back as well.
Riggs finished fourth on the Gators with 51 tackles last season. His career at Florida included 26 starts, 107 tackles, nine tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception. Riggs was a highly touted cornerback out of high school. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl combine, and played in the Under Armour All-American game.