The easy part for former Springboro High School standout Justin Rigg was working his way into the tight end rotation at the University of Kentucky. The hard part was staying healthy and securing that role.
The 6-foot-6, 257-pound junior suffered his second significant internal organ injury following a collision on the first day of spring practice at Lexington earlier this month. He is not expected to return to spring drills.
As a freshman at UK in 2016, Rigg missed most of that season with a lacerated kidney. This time it was his spleen, which didn’t require surgery.
“Very uncommon to have some organs lacerated like that with one player that’s so young,” Wildcats coach Bob Stoops said to SEC Country, “but everything is very positive and seems like it’s going to be OK.”
Rigg played in all 13 games for UK (7-6, 4-4) last season. He had two catches for 34 yards in a 24-23 loss to Northwestern in the Music City Bowl at Nashville, Tennessee.
»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton
Rigg is expected to fully recover and take over the role of backup tight end from Greg Hart, an Alter grad who played three seasons at UK after transferring from Nebraska. Mostly a blocker, Hart had three catches for 25 yards and one touchdown as a senior.
Other area players at UK are:
• Tobias Gilliam (Wayne), a redshirt sophomore DB.
• Kordell Looney (Springfield), a redshirt sophomore DT.
• Matt Ruffolo (Alter), a sophomore kicker.
• Also, Roland Walder (Trotwood-Madison) transferred from UK to Bowling Green prior to last season. He didn’t see action for the Wildcats as a freshman.
An inside linebacker, Walder sat out last season and should be in the mix for playing time with the Falcons this fall. He’ll have three seasons of eligibility.