Five years and one coaching staff later, Notre Dame landed Cody Riggs.
On Wednesday, the school announced that the Florida defensive back will transfer into Notre Dame this summer after visiting South Bend earlier this week. Riggs returned home to Gainesville on Tuesday, then informed the Irish coaching staff of his decision.
"Cody Riggs is an outstanding player," said head coach Brian Kelly in a statement. "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 is on track to graduate from Florida in May after four seasons in Gainesville, where he started 26 games. A cornerback for three seasons, Riggs shifted to safety last fall and started all 12 games at the back of the Gators’ defense.
"I am very thankful for this opportunity," Riggs said in a statement. "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."
The fifth-year option elsewhere became available to Riggs both because he’ll graduate with a degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences this spring, but also because he took a medical red shirt during his junior year after fracturing his foot after two games.
Riggs follows punter Alex Wulfeck last year in transferring into Notre Dame for a fifth year. The Irish lost Lo Wood, Alex Welch and Andrew Hendrix this off-season as all three opted to take their fifth year at Miami of Ohio.
Riggs joining the Irish program is both a full circle recruitment and family reunion for the former four-star prospect out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale. After visiting the Irish for the Blue-Gold Game and the USC game in 2009, Riggs eventually committed to Urban Meyer not long after Charlie Weis was fired.
The nephew of former Irish wide receiver Bobby Brown, who joined Riggs on campus Monday, Riggs attended his first Irish game at barely five years old to see his uncle play. Brown and Riggs, the son of former Pro Bowl running back Gerald Riggs, have remained close ever since.
In setting up the visit this week, Riggs first flew to New York/New Jersey to connect with Brown, who’s working as an attorney in the area after graduating from Notre Dame law school. From there, Brown and Riggs flew to Chicago, then travelled to South Bend for the visit.
When Riggs enrolls this summer he’ll join a depth chart short on cornerback experience opposite KeiVarae Russell. The rising junior started at both field and boundary for Notre Dame the past two years and is a first-team lock. But behind him is rising sophomores Cole Luke, Devin Butler and Rashad Kinlaw, along with incoming freshman Nick Watkins.
Luke saw extensive action last season as Notre Dame’s nickel back with Butler working at dime. They combined for 20 tackles and three pass breakups last season with no starts. Riggs has started 14 games at cornerback during his college career with one interception.