At 3-1, the Springboro (Ohio) Panthers are off to a good start on the 2014 season, and much of their success can be attributed to junior tight end Justin Rigg. Standing at 6’5” and 225 lbs., Rigg has grown accustomed to using his size as an advantage, and he has used it successfully on the football field so far.
“What I try to do is I try to be a big player,” Rigg told GoBlueWolverine.com. “Like a big target, but I try to be a skill player and be able to run but be able to shed tackles, be able to run over guys and break tackles and all that. I try to really work on my footwork because I feel if I have good footwork I can be faster than the other guys.”
On the season, Rigg has accounted for 12 catches, gained 141 yards and tacked on a touchdown through four games.
“It’s been really great,” said Rigg. “I’ve been getting really good at catching the ball and as a blocker. I feel like I’m a key person on my team and I help the team out a lot. When I block I get knock downs and when I catch I try to get up the field about 10, 15 yards.”
As a result of his on-field progress, Rigg has received a bit of attention from various schools throughout the region, namely Michigan and Michigan State. Rigg spoke on which football programs he has been hearing the most from as of late.
“Lately I think Miami has been showing me a lot of interest,” said Rigg. “I’ve talked to their coaches a lot. I went up on a visit for the first week of college football there.
“Another school that is recruiting me pretty big would be Michigan. I talk to them a lot and I went up to their game on week three, I believe (Miami game). They talk to me a lot and they act like they like me. They liked what they say at the camp that I went to. I went there and they just said they want to see how my season goes and they want to see the film.”
For Rigg, Michigan has been a player in his recruitment since forging contact with the rising junior over the summer. As with any recruitment, a good first impression can go a long way, and it appears that the Wolverines’ coaching staff did a good job in expressing the interest level to Rigg at the time.
“When I first met them I was pretty nervous, but they seemed like they really liked me,” said Rigg. “They liked what they saw. When they first saw me they liked how big I was. They liked my size. The coaching staff really acknowledged me a lot.”
As Rigg’s relationship with Michigan was formative in nature, one unlikely connection between he and Michigan head coach Brady Hoke gave the pair a commonality to discuss.
“The head coach came up to me and I introduced myself to him,” said Rigg. “He seemed to really like me. He’s from around where I live so we chatted a little bit. Then the tight end coach, he really acknowledged me a lot and talked to me a lot.”
During June, Rigg was a participant in the Wolverines’ Technique School, a summer camp that allows for the coaching staff to evaluate a litany of interested talent all at once. By all accounts, Rigg impressed with his performance at Michigan’s camp.
“After my camp, I called coach Mark Smith and talked to him about my camp and he said that they really liked me and liked what they saw,” said Rigg. “They said they really want to see how my season goes and they want to see the process of how I play.”
Based on his performance at camp, Michigan invited Rigg back to campus to take in a game during the season. This allowed for Rigg to experience a side of Michigan football that was not available during the camp: game day atmosphere.
“The Big House was fantastic,” said Rigg. “It was crazy. When I first got there I couldn’t believe how big it was and how many fans there were. Just walking in I could tell how serious they take their game.
“When I first walked into [the Champions Center], I was kind of nervous to see how it went because I wasn’t sure if the coaches would talk to me a lot or come to me or go to other people. But the coaches came in and their offensive coordinator [Doug Nussmeier] came in and he came up to me and talked to me and just said thanks for coming and all that. Then my recruiting coach, coach [Mark] Smith, came up to me and he sat down and started talking to me a lot. I could tell that he was really interested and asking me all this stuff like how my season is going and all that. Then the tight end coach, coach [Dan] Ferrigno, came up to me and he treated me like I was already a player there. He also asked me about how my season is going and that he would really like to get a hold of my film.”
Growing up in Ohio, Rigg has a sound foundation of knowledge about the Michigan football program. He is aware of the tradition at Michigan, as well as the school’s reputation as a strong academic program.
“So far with the whole football I really love it,” said Rigg. “It’s great, and I think the school is great and I love the campus. If I could learn any more it would be like what type of school, the athletes and what they do with their schooling and all that.”
Rigg says that the Wolverines’ coaching staff has not gotten into specifics regarding an offer at this point. That may change after they take a look at his mid-season film, however. In the meantime, Rigg is doing his due diligence on other programs that have shown interest thus far.
“Another program I would like to check out would be Michigan State,” said Rigg. “I went up there and I really loved the camp when I was up there. They treated me the same as Michigan treated me. They thought I was a good athlete. Another school would probably be Miami. That’s probably about it right now. That’s all that’s really on my mind… I liked OSU and all that, but I don’t know if they are that interested or going to be interested in me.”
As for now, Rigg is placing his focus on his current season and strives for excellence—on a personal level and a team level.
“One of my goals for myself is just to get better every game,” said Rigg. “It’s to work on different skills and make them better to make my game better and to help my team out to win every game we can. For a team goal for me first would be to win our league then make the playoffs then try to get to state.”
TE Justin Rigg Talks Michigan Visit
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
Peoples-Jones Wins PSL, Updates RecruitmentDetroit (Mich.) Cass Tech's Donovan Peoples-Jones leads Cass to PSL Championship, updates recruitment and more.
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 6:05 PM
Evans suffers concussion, 'we'll see' for MSUMichigan coach Jim Harbaugh says freshman running back Chris Evans suffered a concussion vs. Illinois.
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 5:40 PM
Michigan Next on Visit Docket for No. 1 Va.OTHighland Springs (Va.) 3-star offensive tackle Mekhi Becton has scholarship offers from across the country, including one from Michigan. After months of by building a long distance…
Scout FootballYesterday at 5:11 PM
WATCH: Harbaugh gives Walker updateWatch as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh addresses the status of true freshman running back Kareem Walker after dressing for the first time this season.
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 2:34 PM