The dust has begun to settle on the 2014 recruiting cycle and Notre Dame fans should be pretty happy. This year’s crop of recruits is strong, and includes two strong defensive back prospects, cornerback Nick Watkins and safety Drue Tranquill.
In the past few days, Notre Dame has found itself with a chance to bolster their secondary core even more. Cody Riggs, coming off a strong senior season at the University of Florida, announced earlier this month that he would be transferring out of UF for his final season of eligibility. The announcement comes on the heels of a rough 2013 campaign for the Gators.
But Riggs hasn’t pointed to the difficult season as a reason for his exit. At least not publicly. In an interview with SI.com, Riggs said that his decision was mostly motivated by academics. Riggs says he wants to pursue a post-graduate degree in business, and that is where Notre Dame comes in.
Riggs has specifically mentioned that he is interested in pursuing an MBA program. Lots of schools offer MBA programs2 but not every school offers a one-year program, and it makes sense to guess that an accelerated program would be attractive to Riggs. Top business schools can be pretty pricey, and a one-year program would offer Riggs the chance to earn his degree before the football money goes away.
Notre Dame is on a short list of schools with both highly ranked, one-year MBA programs and strong football programs, making the Irish a natural place for Riggs to look. Other schools on this list would include USC and Stanford (They don’t have a one-year MBA program but they do have a masters of science program in their business school, another option Riggs has mentioned).
In addition to a strong academic program aligning with Riggs’ interests, Notre Dame’s on-field situation could be a big draw for Riggs. The Irish would offer Riggs something he doesn’t seem to have at Florida: the chance to start and consistently play at cornerback. Riggs has said that his decision to transfer is motivated by academics, but it’s tough to look at the situation as an outsider and not see football as a big factor. Riggs had been a strong cornerback for the Gators until a 2012 injury that sidelined him for the remainder of his junior season. Last season, though, Riggs played safety for Florida, and with Vernon Hargreaves III returning plus a slew of young talent looking for a starting job, it seemed unlikely that Riggs would get the opportunity to play corner for Florida next year.
At Notre Dame, though, Riggs would be a strong option to start opposite KeiVarae Russell. Riggs will need to beat out young players like Cole Luke and Devin Butler, but overall his chances of starting or at least locking down the nickel job are much better at South Bend.
It’ll be very interesting to see where Riggs lands. Since announcing his decision to change schools, Notre Dame is the only school Riggs has visited. That bodes well for the Irish, who would love to add Rigg’s talent and starting experience to their secondary corps. A Riggs-Russell starting tandem would more than hold it’s own next year, and would give Notre Dame the kind of immediate help they need as Luke, Butler and Watkins continue to develop their skills as cornerbacks.
- Florida ended last season on a seven game losing streak including a loss to FCS team Georgia Southern.
- Lots of schools have MBA programs including the University of Florida. As a matter of fact, Florida has a one-year online option for their MBA program, and a big part of me wishes Riggs would take this option. He could establish a precedent that attending online classes makes a student eligible to play football. And once we all agree on that, it’ll only be a matter of time before University of Phoenix starts fielding a team, and that’ll be fun to watch. They already have a really nice stadium and everything.