Notre Dame dipped into the SEC to add depth to its 2014 secondary.
Cody Riggs, who spent four years playing cornerback and safety for the Florida Gators, committed Wednesday to play his final year of eligibility at Notre Dame. Riggs will graduate from Florida in May, enroll at Notre Dame in June and be eligible to play for the Irish in 2014 as a graduate student.
"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."
Riggs started all 12 of Florida's games last season at safety, notching 51 tackles and three pass breakups. It was his first year playing safety after spending 2010-2012 as a cornerback, the position he'll likely move back to with the Irish.
Notre Dame returns its entire safety rotation from 2013 (Austin Collinsworth, Matthias Farley, Elijah Shumate, Eilar Hardy, Max Redfield) and should get Nicky Baratti back from shoulder surgery. At cornerback, Bennett Jackson needs to be replaced and Riggs likely will compete against rising sophomores Cole Luke and Devin Butler to start alongside KeiVarae Russell.
His experience at multiple positions in college football's best conference should make him an attractive option in Notre Dame's nickel and dime sets, too.
"Cody Riggs is an outstanding player," coach Brian Kelly said. "He played a ton of football at Florida having started at both safety and cornerback. 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."