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Thursday, June 27, 2013
Gator Breakdown: Cody Riggs

By Michael DiRocco

During the summer, GatorNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Florida roster -- excluding the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class -- in our Gator Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Quinton Dunbar, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 97 Brad Phillips.

No. 31 Cody Riggs
Redshirt junior defensive back

Expectations for 2013: The 5-foot-9, 184-pound Riggs is one of Florida’s most versatile defensive backs. He can play corner, safety or nickel back and spent time at all three spots during spring practice. He’ll start August practice as UF’s top nickel back, but coach Will Muschamp won’t hesitate to move him to safety if the younger, inexperienced players don’t improve there. Corner Jaylen Watkins is already starting at one safety spot because of that issue and Riggs would give the Gators two smart, experienced players on the back end.

Best-case scenario in 2013: If one of the safeties emerges -- whether it’s Marcus Maye, Jabari Gorman or Valdez Showers -- as a reliable player, then Riggs can spend his time at nickel back. UF will likely play five defensive backs most of the time in the early part of the season anyway, which means he’s essentially a starter.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: Riggs may have to play safety. While that’s not a bad thing for the defense, it is in terms of development at the position. Maye, Showers and Gorman are supposed to be the next in line at safety but their progress has taken longer than anticipated. Riggs will be a solid safety. He isn’t a big-time playmaker like Matt Elam, but he is a smart player who won’t give up the big play. But if Riggs has to play safety, that opens up a lot of concerns about the talent at the position.

Future impact: Riggs is a valuable player because of his versatility. He will be a key player in 2014 if, as expected, corners Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy leave school for the NFL after the 2013 season. With Watkins graduating, too, that would leave Riggs as the most experienced corner on the roster.