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Cody Riggs officially joins the Irish

Feb 19, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT

Cody Riggs Cody Riggs

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.


  1. ibleedirish - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    This a HUGE addition, and I’m a little surprised this hasn’t generated more hype. Its like signing a 5 star player…and there’s no chance he’s going to transfer, change his mind etc!

    This immediately improves the secondary, with 2 legit, lockdown corners. When is the last time Notre Dame had that? As MSU showed everyone last year, when you have fast, physical corners, it frees up a defensive coordinator to be very aggressive going after the QB.

    I just hope our athletic safeties like Shumate, Redfield, and Baratti can put together the mental part of the game so we can finally have some real speed on the field, and cause some turnovers.

    Great pick up, go Irish!

    • dickasman - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Wow Florida is brilliant. Is that what they call it now Family Youth Community Services, the good ol “sociology” major at ND? Bastids!

      • ndirish10 - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        dick, read the article carefully, “Riggs will complete his degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences in Florida this spring.” He is enrolling at ND as a graduate student. Although it is not mentioned in this article I read elsewhere that he is planning on enrolling in Notre Dame’s business school.

    • bostonjan - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Thrilled to hear this news. While there’s obviously no logical connection, it suddenly feels like spring will soon be here with the end of a cold, snowy, emotionally draining winter.

      • mtflsmitty - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        Jan!!! Where ya been? Good to know you’re still with us. Inside The Irish is better with you posting.

        Bleed, Great opening post. Five star comment is right on target.

      • ibleedirish - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:08 PM

        thank you sir

      • papadec - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:38 PM

        Not so fast Boston – there’s another storm headed your way – keep the shovel & brandy handy.

  2. rdw71 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Great get. This truly is getting a 5-star – and at a badly-needed position, given the wholesale replacements in the front 7. Having two corners who can play man will give time to get the new guys up front up to speed. Luke and Butler will see a lot of action, too, so when Riggs re-graduates and even if Russell goes early, we will still be solid with experience and depth throughout the defense by 2015.

  3. fnc111 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    A perfect example of an ND guy. Riggs and Russell locking down the edges at CB in 2014.That’s a pretty special duo. Now we just need a pass rush.

    • ibleedirish - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      Exactly. And when you can afford to leave your corners on an island, the pass rush gets A LOT easier.

    • danirish - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      I hope that Russell can be a lockdown – he has the potential and came on great last year. If the safeties can provide coverage (both run and pass) then this might be very special! Maybe we will hear the term “coverage sack” a lot!

  4. upthera44 - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    This is freaking sweet. Sounds like a good kid and is clearly a talented corner/safety. I hope the d is able to scheme around the strength of the secondary.

  5. rossumnminor - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    This is great for the whole of ND football.

  6. irish4life79 - Feb 19, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Really glad this happened definetly improves our secondary russel and riggs two veteran cb with luke and butler rihht in the mix now figure out the safety situation and secondary could be a strength shumate and redfield starters?

    • mtflsmitty - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      On safety… Redfield is not a particularly big guy, but loads of speed, right? Don’t be surprised to see a lot of Barratti back there, especially in run support. The dude is a a Harrison Smith look-alike. Just checked roster. Didn’t realize Shumate was so stout: 6′ and 220. These guys HAVE to beat out Farley.

      • rossumnminor - Feb 21, 2014 at 1:25 AM

        IMO there is just too much talent and enough experience at safety to keep Farley off the field next season.

  7. mediocrebob - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Wonder what this means for Watkins. Kid has a lot of hype coming out of Tx. Redshirt? Or does he force his way on the field? Good situation with a lot of competition.

    • oleolehey - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      Riggs will be there only one year. Plenty of time for Watkins to develop.

      • mediocrebob - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        I’m talking about next year. A lot of people were saying Watkins could very well be a contributor from the time he steps on campus. I’m sure that was appealing to him. I fully understand that he will have an additional 3 years on campus. I’m wondering if he could now be RS and then have an additional 4 years. Or if he will simply be too good to keep off the field.

  8. bernhtp - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    This is normally the time of year for bad news, like transfers. Getting the transfer of a top talent in is very cool.

  9. oldschoollyons - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    What does this say to recruits — Come play here and, on the brink of starting, we’ll bring in a one-year wonder from another school to take your job! What does it say to our redshirt freshmen and to freshmen who played last year — Tough luck; wait another year.

    The academic front is a disgrace. According to Florida, Riggs’ major prepares students to be a 4-H youth developer (teaching farm kids how to prepare for the county fair); a family support worker (caseworker); family case manager (welfare worker); a worker for youth risk prevention (teaching basketball instead of a life of crime), etc. What respectable business school or graduate business department would accept someone with that kind of “academic” background?

    It is odds on that he will take a few courses in the fall, then spend the winter preparing to show his wares to the NFL. What are the chances that he will get a graduate degree from ND? As comedians used to say in the Catskills: Don’t make me laugh.

    • irish4006 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Pretty lame reasoning, oldschool. if you are among the 11 best, you start; if you are among the 20 best, you’ll still likely play a good amount; regardless of how many more players come or go. ND is admitting him, not giving him the starting job; that he will have to earn. If either cole or devin is better, they will play; or do you want them to be your starter even if they are not the best option?

      Fail, please try again.

    • mediocrebob - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:41 AM

      I think it says the Irish want to win. And if you’re scared of competition, go elsewhere.

  10. 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    last time i checked, an undergrad degree in business, finance, marketing, etc. wasn’t a prereq for an MBA. you think mendoza b-school is going to let some kid come in who would embarrass the program and himself? not a chance. and if riggs is the academic lightweight you seem intent on making him out to be, why does he elect to pursue an MBA as his grad degree of choice? he could pick an MFA or some other program where the students don’t try to eat each other alive as a way to sharpen their claws for wall street.

    i would imagine BK addressed the exact prospect you bemoan (riggs playing in the fall and peacing out for the draft) and made it clear that riggs was expected to fulfill his academic responsibilities, if for nothing else, than for appearances.

  11. newmexicoirish - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Oldschool – allow me to respectfully disagree with the first part of your post. I think recruits in every major program understand that there are no guarantees of starting. It’s not a matter of someone taking “their job” as much as it is having to compete each season for a position with guys who may be currently in the program and guys who are coming to the program regardless of where they come from.
    BK has made it very clear to the fan base , the administration, the media, and most importantly to his own players, the best eleven on each side of the ball are going to start. If one of the redshirt freshmen you reference want to start -they will have to earn the position rather than look at it as though someone too their job.

  12. newmexicoirish - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    Sorry that should be took – not too.

  13. rpbags - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:38 AM

    This is great and i think it will help the defense to be more in attack mode! Getting really excited more and more about this season with the offense that i think will explode and a defense to match! Go Irish!!!!

  14. getsome99 - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    Great pickup. Worst case, he’s insurance in case the young DB’s aren’t ready early. But he also adds depth and brings instant leadership and experience. Maybe even teach them how to play that SEC ball on defense. What does BVG have up his sleeve? Are we finally going to have an attacking defense that takes the ball away from opponents? There was a scholarship available so let’s hope it works out better than Amir Carlisle did last season on offense.

  15. seanb20124 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:36 AM

    If Riggs is so good, why can’t he get on the field for a sub
    .500 Florida squad

    • rube325 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:39 AM

      Riggs started 26 games for Florida…all 12 last season. He missed a few games the season before with a broken foot, or he would have started those also.

  16. getsome99 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:01 AM

    Good point. Then he’ll add some needed depth.

  17. keelio19 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:55 AM

    • Actually Sean and getsome, it’s not a good point. He was so good that we were recruiting him when he came out of high school as well as Florida as he was listed as the #6 CB coming out of HS. This was in 2010, when in the 2009 season Florida went 12-1, only losing to Alabama in the SEC championship, the same season Florida met BK’s Bearcats and handed them a stomping at the Allstate Sugar Bowl where they won 51-24. So you know Florida was sky high on a lot of top talented recruits that season, so it’s not like he was a nobody coming out of high school.
    • He played two games in 2012 and was lost for the rest of the season, last season he started all 12 games for the Gators finishing with 51 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 3 pass break ups. So he would have easily of been the starter again this season on that sub .500 Florida squad you referenced. Now a day’s students have options, one of his options was to go to ND to get his MBA and have an opportunity to join a better football team across the board. To me he’s got the smarts to recognize his options and the right focus to commit to a tough academic institution like ND, he could have went anywhere and any school would have accepted him, but he saw the opportunity to compete for a up and coming football team, while realizing that the Gators are on a downward spiral. Now I’m not one for those jumping ship when things are going bad, but he’s not transferring to ND just for the playing opportunity, it was for his degree as well. He gave his 4 years to Florida, he’s moving on to greener pastures.

    • keelio19 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      Sorry for the long run-on sentence at the end, gees.

  18. irish13pa - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    I do not see the big deal with this kid. He is a 5’9″ safety who is only coming here because he thinks he will be playing corner for a year. Personally, I dont see him beating out Cole Luke for that spot. Russell and Luke will be stud corners this year and hopefully Redfield and Shumate will be our safeties instead of the special teamers ND had in there at safety last year.

    • mediocrebob - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      Bob Sanders was 5’9. Tyran Matthieu?

      Not really the point. I don’t care if he’s 4’2 or 6’6. The guy obviously has talent. Irish had a scholarship left. EsWhy not take a guy like Riggs? Not often this opportunity is in the Irishs’ favor. If they didn’t try to bring Riggs in after the amount of interest he’d shown and say 2 corners went down next fall with injuries, you’d bitch about not bringing him in.

      There’s really no winning with some of you. Take it for what it is. Added depth and experience. Can’t have enough of either.

  19. 1historian - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Bottom line to me – there’s going to be a lot of competition between some talented kids for those posts next season, and that’s good.

  20. fitz79 - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    I’m glad to have Riggs on board. Kelly has done a great job of building depth, especially on defense. 1historian is right, the more kids you get competing for a spot the better. I know Florida was sub .500 last year but it wasn’t the defenses fault so much. They had a totally inept offense and no QB.

  21. viktory2013 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Wasn’t all that taken with ND’s dbs in general this past season. Russell was okay, Shumate and Luke were fair, and the Jackson/Farley comedy duo were completely lost out there. I’m fairly certain Riggs will do as least as much and likely far, far better. If those kids like Redfield or Watkins step up right away, terrific. If not, someone pretty talented like Riggs will be handy to have around. Worse case scenario, I’m sure he can find a spot on the bench.

    Bottom line: Don’t think ND has a lot to lose here guys.

  22. 1historian - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    Out of 16 posts for February 20, 10 of them are concerned with the imminent arrival of Cody Riggs.

    We get it.


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