Player Intro: D.J. Riggins

Sophomore athlete D.J. Riggins fron Westlake Village Oaks Chritian has been spending his off-season training with older cousin and UCLA signee Ishmael Adams...

Sophomore D.J. Riggins isn't waiting around to make things happen. The Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian athlete, who plays both running back and defensive back, is already involved heavily in off-season football.

This past weekend, Riggins was competing at the 1925 All-Stars training camp, who's 2011 7-on-7 team features some of the state's top athletes, including Riggins' older cousin Ishmael Adams, a UCLA signee. He has also been kept busy by his high school's spring football program.

"We're lifting a lot more and are getting in the gym five times a week. We're doing as much as we can to get bigger. We're also working on our studies; we had 100% eligibility on our team this year," he said.

Aside from his team's goals, Riggins is also working to become a stronger, more all-around player.

At defensive back, I'm working on getting on my breaks faster. My older cousin Ishmael is helping me with that. At running back, I'm working on hitting the hole full speed and doing my moves above the line of scrimmage," he said.

The running back, who is currently 5'11" and 180 lbs., knows exactly where his talent on the field lies.

"I think some of my strengths as a player are my speed and quickness. I'm big, I just need to put on more weight," he said.

Riggins isn't quite sure what side of the ball he'll end up on, as playing defensive back is fairly new to him.

"It really depends on my size and where I get better. I've been playing running back all my life and just started playing defensive back last year and the coaches seem to think I'm really good at it. I think where I play in college will really depend on my senior year," he said.

However, there are a few specific things that Riggins loves about playing on offense.

"I like running back because you control the ball and know where you're going to go. When you're on defense, you have to try and guess to get the right angle on where you think a person is going to take the ball. I like to have the ball in my hands," he said.

Colleges have already started taking interest in the sophomore, and he's been hearing from some big time programs. Riggins is open to all of them, though he might consider proximity more seriously when he eventually starts to narrow his options.

"I've talked with Washington State, UCLA, and Miami and I like USC, as well. I'm interested in all of them, but I might want to stay in California. I feel like it's one of the strongest football states; we have a lot of speed. I do go out of state, I think that playing high school ball in California has prepared me to go up against some of the best because I've been playing against strong players," he said.

Education is also important to Riggins and finds the academic prestige of the California schools attractive.

"Another reason I like UCLA is because it's a great school academically and I know whatever I get my degree in, it will be highly looked upon. It's the same thing with USC. I want to end up in California when I get older, and those schools can open up a lot of doors," he said.

In the meantime, Riggins has been putting in much time with Adams before he heads to Westwood and is trying to soak in some of his cousin's advice.

"Ishmael has been talking UCLA up to me and he's been training me. I love him; he's a great help. He's taught me about the college process and how you need to get exposed. Your junior year is your main year and you have to show out your junior year. He's told me stay humble and just enjoy the experience," said Riggins.


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