It’s the dog days of summer, where the only thing going on at most schools are sessions in the weight room and monotonous drills in the scorching heat. That’s just fine with Lakewood senior Tre’von Riggins.
“I love the grind,” Riggins said.
This is a big season for Riggins in many ways. As a freshman he played on Lakewood’s varsity. He showed enough promise that he decided to transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton as a sophomore. He played a total of 63 snaps as a reserve defensive lineman.
Then came an offer from the University of Miami, which he accepted.
But prior to his junior season, Riggins sustained a knee injury and didn’t play at all. He also frequently traveled from Bradenton to St. Petersburg to be with his father, Thomas W., Riggins III, who was ill.
The injury. The illness. It became too much.
After two years at IMG he decided to come home to Lakewood.
“I made a decision to come back to Lakewood to be with my brothers,” Riggins said. “When I played in the spring game, it felt like home. It was an easy decision to come back.”
He still had to endure more tough times. In March, his father passed away. The two were close.
“It gave me a whole new meaning to life,” Riggins said. “It was a wake-up call.”
Returning to Lakewood reinvigorated Riggins. He worked in the weight room, in conditioning, and in the classroom.
“Tre’von has always been a special kid,” Spartans coach Cory Moore said. “You could see that when he was here as a freshman. He’s gone through some adversity and pushed through that. The hard work is showing. He’s going to be an anchor for our defensive line, and I know he’s going to make his own path and succeed.”
Motivated by his father’s death, Riggins can’t wait for the season opener against St. Petersburg.
“He was a big influence on me,” Riggins said. “He had some health problems, so he only got to see me play my freshman year at Lakewood. He didn’t come to IMG. Now that I’m home, I know that when we play St. Pete in the first game I’m going to look in the stands and he won’t be there. But he’s here. I know he’s watching over me. I’m going to play for him and my brothers this season.”
So he will grind away this summer. He said he would like to be down to 260 pounds so he can be on the field for more snaps. He might even play a bit on the offensive line.
Once he gets to Miami, he will probably get back up to 280 pounds.
“I’m better at being a run stopper than chasing the quarterback,” Riggins said.
Staff writer Bob Putnam contributed to this report.