Florida redshirt junior Cody Riggs (St. Thomas Aquinas) has essentially grabbed one of UF's two starting safety spots -- without coach Will Muschamp officially confirming as much.
The Gators have spent the offseason searching for replacements for NFL rookies Matt Elam and Josh Evans, and Riggs “has distanced himself” from the pack," according to UF's coach.
“He’s done a good job,” Muschamp said. “Past that, we’ve got to get better.”
Riggs was recruited to Florida as a cornerback but is readily welcoming the opportunity of a starting job at another position.
Earlier this week, Riggs spoke about people's size concerns (5-foot-9, 184 pounds), learning from Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, the disappointment in missing most of the 2012 season with a broken foot and more...
On watching lots of Thomas' film:
“He’s very fast to the ball and knows what’s going on before the play. He’s a very smart football player. He makes a lot of plays before the ball gets snapped. I’m trying to add that to my game and recognize what the offense is doing it before they actually do it.”
On overcoming size issue:
“I’m very fast. I’m very physical. I’m a smart football player. I make a lot of calls. I have a great relationship with the other safeties, so when we work together, we can do a lot of things. ... I can jump high. That’s not an issue. Being a smaller guy, it’s all about body position. It’s not about jumping. If you have good body position, I can jump, so I’ll be fine. ... I’m not scared of anybody.”
On last season's injury in the Texas A&M game:
"It was very frustrating. I didn’t even know how I fractured my foot. It was just the middle of the game, and I told them, ‘something is wrong.’ Come to find out, my foot was broke. It was heartbreaking because we were having such a good season and I had to sit back and watch those guys do all those things they did last year. ... It’s tough to sit there and watch. You learn to appreciate the game a lot more, especially when you sit out and we have a season like we had where we go to the Sugar Bowl. It was frustrating to watch, but I was the number one fan.”
On battling adversity:
"I remember like it was yesterday, just coming off that sideline and saying, ‘I can’t walk.’ That really motivated me going into this year that I had to prove myself. That was a big deal to me. That was my third year. Even though I did get a redshirt, the junior year is very important. It hurt a lot. I’m excited about this year.”
On the big shoes to fill:
"Yeah, Josh [Evans] was like my big brother since I got here. He was the host on my visit. We were really cool. I just have to model my game after him.”
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