Over the next 31 days, Gator Country will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at redshirt junior defensive back, Cody Riggs.
A state and national champion cornerback from what has become a pipeline high school for the Gators in St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale), Riggs chose the Gators over scholarship offers from Florida State, Notre Dame, Georgia, South Carolina and Wisconsin among others.
It didn’t take long for Riggs to make an impact, as he was one of six true freshmen to play in all 13 games in 2010. Riggs earned three starts that season (Kentucky, South Carolina, Penn State) and recorded his first career interception against Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
Riggs stepped into a starting role as a sophomore. He once again played in every single game while making 10 starts and had a career-high five tackles against Furman.
Riggs spent time before his sophomore and junior seasons cross-training at safety during the offseason.
As Marcus Roberson took over one of the starting jobs, Riggs found himself playing mostly safety in Florida’s nickel and dime packages. He played almost exclusively at safety against Bowling Green in the season opener before suffering a foot injury against Texas A&M in the second game of the season. That injury forced Riggs to miss the rest of the season and he earned a redshirt.
Career Defensive Stats
With a lot of time to rehab and get into the weight room last season and this offseason, Riggs took advantage of the time where he was sidelined and transformed his body. He no longer is the 5’9”, 159-pound, scrawny cornerback that arrived on campus. He is now listed at 5’9”, 190-pounds and looks every bit of that listing.
Riggs is solid in coverage and a good tackler. He has great footwork and speed for the position. Riggs excels in man-to-man coverage but can hold his own when asked to play in zone.
He is an aggressive defensive back who can play multiple positions for Florida, allowing Will Muschamp the kind of flexibility that every head coach wished he could have on defense.
Riggs biggest weakness was his height and weight. He can’t change how tall he is and as we mentioned before, he has already taken care of his weight.
The new problem that Riggs faces is playing essentially out of position. With so much depth at cornerback, Riggs will likely be asked to play more safety than he has been asked to in the past. Yes, he has been training there for a while now but he isn’t a natural safety and doesn’t have the instincts that a player who has played the position for their entire life would have. He makes up for that with his speed, quickness and exceptional wrap-up tackling but he may not be Florida’s best option at safety in the long-term.
What to Expect
Riggs started spring camp as a starter at safety but left camp as a backup cornerback on the depth chart. We know that Riggs will play both positions this season, but which he will make a bigger impact at is yet to be determined.
Riggs will be a major contributor on special teams, just like he has been his whole career and will find time on defense. He’ll play both safety spots and cornerback but he will get pushed for playing time by incoming freshmen Marcell Harris and Keanu Neal, as well as Jaylen Watkins, Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy, Brian Poole and Vernon Hargreaves, Jabari Gorman, Valdez Showers and Marcus Maye.