Team notes: Riggs to transfer

Florida defensive back Cody Riggs has decided to leave the program. He played in every game last season as a trusted veteran of the secondary, but Riggs elected to give up his final year of eligibility at Florida. He will finish the semester before transferring to another school and using his final season elsewhere.

Riggs was fourth on the team with 51 tackles last season and third on the team with 6.5 tackles for a loss. He added 1.5 sacks and three pass breakups while playing safety for the Gators.

"Cody Riggs and his parents came to me," Will Muschamp said. "He's going to finish up in May and transfer to another school to finish up his last year of eligibility. He wanted a fresh start. We appreciate his contributions to Florida."

Muschamp wouldn't expand or talk about the reasons Riggs and his family felt it would be best to leave the program.

The Gators were already planning to be without Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson and Jaylen Watkins next season as the trio begins its professional careers. Adding Riggs to the mix takes away a fourth member of the secondary.

Vernon Hargreaves is locked into one cornerback position, but the rest of it is up for grabs. Brian Poole played nickel last season and Muschamp said he "can play multiple positions." He could slide over to cornerback if the Gators want to go with an experienced player. There's also the possibility of a freshman like Jalen Tabor or J.C. Jackson winning the job.

The safety position gets complicated. Florida pieced it together last season with Riggs and Watkins, two players that don't have the traditional safety size. There are options as the Gators head into spring ball next month.

"At the safety position, we've got Keanu Neal, who continues to improve,' Muschamp said. "Marcus Maye started games for us last year. Marcell Harris is coming back off his knee and moving well. Jabari Gorman was played a bunch of football for us."

Redshirt freshman Nick Washington could serve in the same role that Watkins did. He's smart enough to have switching between cornerback and safety, a role that has been extremely valuable to the Florida defense in recent years.

"Nick Washington can line up at safety, corner or nickel," Muschamp said. "He's very smart, very intelligent and a lot like Jaylen (Watkins). He can do a lot of things for us. He can be a cover corner outside or line up inside and play it very intelligent."

PETERSON JOINS THE STAFF: Former Florida linebacker Mike Peterson will joins the coaching staff full time on February 24, filling a coaching role in the weight room. Peterson served as an undergraduate assistant during the 2013 season as he finished his degree following a 14-year NFL career.

"We had an opportunity to be able to hire a guy like that, a former Gator that knows how things should be done the right way," Muschamp said. "It's invaluable for our players. Great to have him back on staff."

INJURY REPORT: Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel (fractured right fibula) starting jogging recently and continues to progress. The redshirt junior is expected to be ready when spring practice opens on March 19.

Running back Matt Jones (knee) had his second surgery on his meniscus on Wednesday. Muschamp said the doctors were encouraged and believe it is 90 percent healed. Jones will still miss all of spring practice.

Three other players will miss the spring, and they're all linebackers Alex Anzalone (shoulder), Jeremi Powell (ACL) and Matt Rolin (ACL).

"Other guys will be limited, but no one's going to be out totally besides those three," Muschamp.

Muschamp also said that freshman running back Brandon Powell is dealing with a foot injury he suffered in high school, but it isn't a concern for the early enrollee.

"When he's been full speed, he's been outstanding," Muschamp said.

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