Cody Riggs's plans to transfer came as a surprise on Wednesday, with Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun noting via sources that it was about Riggs, a full-time safety for Florida in 2013, wanting to play cornerback. On Thursday, Riggs pushed back against that idea, telling Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel that he is transferring — technically, he'll be going to graduate school after graduating from Florida this spring, not transferring, and will not need a release from the school — for academic reasons.
"I’ve played every position (in the secondary)," he said. "If I wanted to leave to prepare myself to play corner in the NFL, I’d have done so (earlier)."
Riggs said that he plans to attend graduate business school and pursue either an MBA or other business degree. He’s currently finishing his degree in Family Youth and Community Sciences, studying for the GMATs and doing an internship at a Boys & Girls Club in Gainesville.
Riggs sees going elsewhere for graduate school as a chance to expand his network. Riggs is the son of former NFL All-Pro running back Gerald Riggs. Cody Riggs said he grew up around a non-profit organization his parents started — Florida Youth Track and Field.
"I want to impact my community with that degree," he said. "When a student that isn’t an athlete goes somewhere else for graduate school, they’re applauded. Same for coaches when they leave a school and it’s better for their family and future. When an athlete does it, though, it’s viewed as a problem."
Riggs, who calls the decision to leave Florida "the hardest decision I ever had to make" and also tells Thamel "(Will) Muschamp is the best coach I’ve ever had," has been at Florida since the summer of 2010, and was recruited by Urban Meyer, so you might be able to read a shot into that last "same for coaches" bit if you're interested.
But he should also, as he correctly notes, be applauded for making a decision in his academic best interests. Florida's got a fine business school that would probably help him out in his career, but he thinks he's making the best decision for his future, and it's tough to leave familiar situations in trying to make a decision like that.
I'm not sure, however, that I totally believe Riggs on his face about this decision not being related to wanting to play cornerback, considering that I'd heard something similar to what Dooley reported. And Muschamp's terse summation of Riggs's decision when asked about it on Wednesday — he was asked for detail after addressing it in his opening comments — felt off to me:
Q. And can you go into detail on why Cody chose to leave the program?
"I don't know. I met with his parents, and again, we wish him all the luck."
We also wish Riggs the best in finishing his schooling at Florida, and in his future academic and athletic careers. Few Gators have done more thankless work over the last few years, and Riggs deserves a better end to his time at Florida than this odd departure.