Doug Rigg was an outstanding LB for the Mountaineers who now has his eyes set on playing in the NFL. He could be a late-round pick in next month’s NFL Draft, and if not, will surely be a priority free-agent based upon his athleticism and instincts.
As a three-star recruit out of New Jersey, Rigg had number of scholarship offers from schools like Louisville, Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland and nearby Rutgers. But he chose the confines of Morgantown to spend his college days, and there were several reasons for that.
“The family atmosphere and the distance definitely were big reasons to why I wanted to be a Mountaineer,” Rigg says. “A lot of people from my area back at home (Jersey) also attend here so it made it more comfortable for me.”
He came in as a freshman and made an impact, playing in every game. His fondest memory on the field during his career came at the end of that season. That game: the 2012 Orange Bowl. Clemson RB André Ellington fumbled the ball at the goal line, allowing Darwin Cook to pluck the ball from the top of the pile and return it 99-yards for a WVU touchdown, giving the Mountaineers a 28-17 lead.
That play swung the momentum dramatically in the Mountaineer’s favor, leading to the 70-33 rout. Up until that time, the stadium was equally split between the cheers of Tiger and Mountaineer fans. The Mountaineers went ahead 21-17 the previous possession on a Tavon Austin TD. Then, the Tigers proceeded to march down the field with the hopes of retaking the lead. They came within inches of doing so until the ball was knocked loose and Darwin Cook tackled the Orange Bowl mascot in the opposite end zone. After that play, the cheers from WVU fans were deafening and the Clemson side of the stadium grew quiet, and then emptied out at halftime.
Rigg was the player who knocked the ball loose from Ellington. He went on to start every game during his sophomore year.
“My favorite moment had to be winning the Orange Bowl in historic fashion,” said Rigg. “I have many plays individually that were great moments but that team victory was definitely the best moment of my football career.”
His college career came to an early end after suffering a concussion late in the Oklahoma game last season. He finished his career playing in 45 games with 22 starts. He compiled 141 tackles, 3 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. He had a standout pro day last month, running a faster than expected 4.62 in the forty-yard dash. He says he received some sound advice, coming from Eagles OLB coach Bill McGovern.
“I mostly spoke with the Eagles linebacker coach,” Rigg said, “because of a connection we had from when he was recruiting me at Boston College years ago. He mainly told me that in the NFL only a few players start, one player is paid to just pass rush and the rest have to earn their money by playing special teams. He said picking up information and playing on special teams will be my key.”
Throughout the draft process, Rigg seeks out his former positional teammates for advice. Guys who have followed the path McGovern set out for Rigg.
“Whenever I have questions I mostly ask former linebackers for answers,” he says. “I usually ask J.T. Thomas and Najee [Goode], but I’ve asked Terence Garvin some things too.”
Rigg can offer an NFL team a player who can pick up the playbook quickly, read offenses well and step up in run support. In the image conscious NFL, today there’s more that goes into scouting a player than what they do on the field. How they conduct themselves off of it is also important.
“I think I will bring a class act to an organization. Someone who handles his business professionally off the field but plays hard on the field,” Rigg says, and realizes what steps he must take to earn a spot on the field. “I know I can be a special teams player and develop as a player quickly to become one that can be reliable on the field.”
With the NFL Draft less than a month away, Rigg is waiting for that life-changing phone call.
“My plans are to just keep lifting and getting in shape and hopefully be ready when the time comes.”
When the NFL calls, Doug Rigg will be ready.