NFL.com ranked Notre Dame defensive back Cody Riggs as the third-best graduate transfer changing schools for the 2014 season, citing his 26 SEC starts and the Irish's need for secondary depth facing some high-powered passing offenses this coming fall.
But don't expect Brian Kelly & Co. to actively seek out more graduate transfers like Riggs in the future. While Riggs was a "great" fit, Kelly said, he'd prefer to add traditional transfers with three years of eligibility remaining.
"He fit for us in terms of a veteran presence in the back end of our defense," Kelly said last month. "It's unusual that you take a one-for-one guy, but it was the right time and it was the right place, so that worked."
Entering Year 5, Kelly thought his locker room was ready for a player like Riggs, who's immediately eligible to play one season as a graduate student in Notre Dame's accelerated MBA program. Relying on players like Riggs, especially early into the process of building a program, can be a shaky strategy that could potentially upset team chemistry.
While Notre Dame's defense doesn't have many senior leaders, it's a cohesive group that's played together for the last few seasons. Riggs brings solid experience from the crucible of the SEC, and Kelly's confident his program is at the point where players will readily accept him.
"Our locker room is in a very good position where you can bring in a guy and not feel like he's going to upset what's already developed in your locker room," Kelly said. "The first couple years I would not have gone that route, but where we are right now we can bring in a guy for a year and do that."