Posted February 07, 2014

Cody Riggs says reason for leaving Florida was academics, not football

college football, Florida Gators, SEC, Will Muschamp
Cody Riggs

Cody Riggs (31) told SI.com that his decision to leave Florida is rooted in academics. (Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI)

By Pete Thamel

Florida defensive back Cody Riggs, the Gators starting safety last season, said in a phone interview on Thursday that his decision to leave the school was rooted more in academics than football.

“This was the hardest decision I ever had to make,” Riggs said. “I love my teammates and the fans here. I really feel awful about leaving my teammates, especially a young secondary. This was something that I needed to do.”

Riggs started 26 games for three different defensive coordinators in his career at Florida and bristled at the notion that his departure had anything to do with fear of competition of younger players or unhappiness playing safety. Riggs came to Florida as a corner and switched to safety his junior season before getting injured. He started at both safety positions last season as a redshirt junior and stressed that the opportunity to return to cornerback didn’t factor into his decision.

“I’ve played every position (in the secondary),” he said. “If I wanted to leave to prepare myself to play corner in the NFL, I’d have done so (earlier).”

Riggs said that he plans to attend graduate business school and pursue either an MBA or a master’s in science in business. He’s currently finishing his degree in Family Youth and Community Sciences, studying for the GMATs and doing an internship at a Boys & Girls Club in Gainesville.

Riggs sees going elsewhere for graduate school as a chance to expand his network. Riggs is the son of former NFL All-Pro running back Gerald Riggs. Cody Riggs said he grew up around a non-profit organization his parents started — Florida Youth Track and Field.

“I want to impact my community with that degree,” he said. “When a student that isn’t an athlete goes somewhere else for graduate school, they’re applauded. Same for coaches when they leave a school and it’s better for their family and future. When an athlete does it, though, it’s viewed as a problem.”

Riggs is the eighth player to transfer from Florida since the end of the season, although he’s the only one who was a full-time starter. He said he leaves with no ill will toward his teammates, coach Will Muschamp or the staff. Riggs informed Florida of his decision weeks ago so they could use his scholarship for next season. He told them to release the news when it best suited them, as he did not want to be a negative distraction to the coaches who were out on the road recruiting.

“Muschamp is the best coach I’ve ever had,” Riggs said. “His defense is always going to be good, regardless of who is back there. They have a lot of talent back there, it gives me a little peace knowing that they’re going to be OK.”

14 comments
alhmiel1
alhmiel1

Yea social work is a hard major.

ianlinross
ianlinross

In spirit and theory, this is what college football should be about.

pirate
pirate

Someone leaving a football factory for a school with better academics? If he starts a trend it could be all over for the SEC.

DSM
DSM

A very positive story, assuming Florida does not have a good MBA program

MassChamp
MassChamp

@NickdelaTorreGC strange story in some respects but sounds legit and he handled with complete class. Wish him the best

gwilliamireland
gwilliamireland

Best of luck, Cody!  You are a true role model with priorities that make all us Gator fans proud.  No matter where you transfer or where life leads you, you will always be a Gator!

donald5
donald5

Sounds like a good kid with good priorities.  Wish the kid luck.

qmechanics
qmechanics

@pirate  If you understood anything about a graduate education, it is often recommended that one change academic environments to gain a different perspective.  Florida is a top twenty public university and ranked in the top fifty overall in the nation, according to the US News and World report (I think in the SEC Vanderbilt (private) is the highest rated followed by Florida.)

MichaelBruneau
MichaelBruneau

@pirate  Do  your homework, UF is a top notch academic school.  I'd be interested to know where he lands.  I applaud his decision as a student, but I wouldn't be surprised if he just couldn't get into the MBA program at UF.

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

@DSM  I'm not even a Gator fan in the slightest but your comment just reaks of stupidity and an inability to read and comprehend what you read.  

donald5
donald5

@DSM  He said he wanted to expand his network.  A lot of people go to different grad and undergrad for that reason.

fallenchemist
fallenchemist

@donald5 @DSM 

 I will even take that a step further and say that my observations are that people usually go to a different graduate school than where they went undergrad.  In some fields, it is important not only to expand your contacts, but also to be taught from a different perspective.  If you stay at the same school, you might be taught by the same profs you had undergrad, and while the material will be more advanced, the material that is emphasized and the perspective from which it is taught remains the same.


This sounds like an intelligent young man who understands the much bigger picture outside of college football.