Christopher Smith

Florida DB Cody Riggs Picks Notre Dame

Created on Feb. 19, 2014 4:29 PM EST

Florida defensive back Cody Riggs is expected to transfer to Notre Dame after graduating in May, the Fighting Irish said in a team release Wednesday.

Riggs, a junior in 2013, played in 40 games for the Gators and started 26 at cornerback or safety. At 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, an injury forced him to miss almost all of 2012 and he played last year at safety, but he's expected to compete with KeiVarae Russell for the starting right cornerback spot, ESPN reported.

"Cody Riggs is an outstanding player," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in a release. "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."

Riggs' decision to transfer did not come as a surprise to Florida, which announced the pending move about two weeks ago.

"I am very thankful for this opportunity," Riggs said in a statement released by Notre Dame. "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."

Florida suffered a mass exodus of players to transfers this offseason, mostly on offense. Gators coach Will Muschamp is competing for his job in 2014, and must replace some important players in the secondary, so Riggs' exit doesn't help. But Florida's primary directive is to improve the offense under new coordinator Kurt Roper, and the Gators' defense retains plenty of talent.

As for Notre Dame, the program took a noticeable step back in 2013 after falling hard to Alabama in the next-to-last BCS title game. They'll get quarterback Everett Golson back from a suspension in addition to Riggs, a nice one-two combination of veteran experience.

Expect for the Irish to be ranked in the preseason Top 25, maybe even as high as the Top 15.

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