Of the players made available to the media yesterday, grad student Cody Riggs wasn’t among them. But the cornerback stopped by UND.com’s Media Day coverage, and after watching his interview with Jack Nolan it’s hard not to be impressed.
Riggs talked about taking over a leadership role in the secondary and also competing for the job as the team’s primary punt returner.
(He also mentioned that he’s heard the good things head coach Brian Kelly has been saying about him to the media, thanks to his mother — who is following along with the press conferences online. Believe me, I know how that goes, and I’m not even on the team.)
Riggs’ offseason addition has turned into one of the most important moves the Irish have made in the Kelly era. While KeiVarae Russell hangs in limbo as an academic investigation takes place, Riggs steps into the No. 1 cornerback spot, a job that’s vital in Brian VanGorder’s scheme.
Just as important is Riggs’ ascension into a leadership role. Even though he’s been on campus since June, Riggs has provided stability to a young but talented position group. He’s also dug in as a student — working for a one-year accelerated masters degree in science and management in the Mendoza College of Business that he expects to finish in May.
In a football program that’s constantly reminded how important institutional fit is, Riggs is the rare transfer to feel custom made for his spot on the Irish, a job that’ll be quite demanding come 10 days from now.