University of Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly announced today that Cody Riggs will attend graduate school at the University and play for Fighting Irish this fall. Riggs will graduate with a degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences from the University of Florida in May and join the Notre Dame program in June.
"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."
Riggs says more — about this being the "toughest decision of (his) life" and "expanding (his) professional network" — in the statement, reinforcing his decision to transfer as one made to broaden his education.
Former Florida defensive back Jaylen Watkins, who played extensively with Riggs in the Gators' defensive backfield, also struck back at theories — including my own — that Riggs's transfer had more to do with football than he has publicly claimed.
Teammate Jaylen Watkins on Cody Riggs. RT @jwat14: People that think cody was scared of competition or losing his job are crazy smh— Thomas Goldkamp (@Goldkamp247) February 19, 2014
Watkins subsequently deleted the tweet, but addressed Riggs transferring — and Riggs's desire to play cornerback — in the latest entry in his "Path to the Draft" series for Only Gators last week:
One topic I’m sure you all are interested to hear about is Cody Riggs deciding to transfer away from UF to a new school. Cody and I were in the same recruiting class and also roommates my sophomore year on campus – so we’re actually really, really close – and even I had no idea whatsoever that he was thinking about leaving.
When I saw it, it was definitely a shocker. I actually went to Gainesville this past weekend and was able to talk to him and stuff, but before the decision I had no idea. I think it was just something he was keeping within his family. It definitely seems like it was a hard decision for him. He told me he wants to go to graduate school at a different school and expand his network, like he said in that report.
I haven’t really been able to sit down with him and discuss it at length, but I think a lot contributed to his decision including wanting to play cornerback. Next time I get to Gainesville, which will probably be for Pro Day, I’ll talk to him about it more and get a better understanding about his decision.
Riggs will have one year of elgibility at Notre Dame, and will be immediately eligible in the fall 2014. He joins Tyler Murphy and Ian Silberman among Gators who have decided to transfer to new schools in 2014 after graduating from the University of Florida.