LAURINBURG — Scotland High School welcomed a famous alumnus back to its campus Tuesday.
Jim Riggs, a 1982 graduate and a seven-year NFL veteran, took part in a special presentation at the school during halftime of the boys varsity basketball game.
The 6-foot-5 former tight end of the Cincinnati Bengals received a golden football from the NFL to honor his participation in Super Bowl XXIII. Approximately 2,000 schools and 3,000 players were recognized nationwide with similar footballs as the league celebrated its 50th Super Bowl on Sunday.
“This football, it started with a dream,” Riggs said to the Scotland faithful in attendance. “I moved here from Buffalo, New York, my eighth-grade year and we lived in Scotch Meadows. The dream I had was to play NFL football.”
Riggs spoke for a few minutes, briefly reflecting on his time growing up and how he relentlessly pursued his goal of reaching the pinnacle of his sport.
Riggs starred for the Fighting Scots during his high school playing days and was pursued by some of the top colleges in the country. He garnered scholarship offers from the likes of Bear Bryant at Alabama, among others, but he ultimately chose to attend Clemson University and play for coach Danny Ford.
As a Tiger, Riggs earned all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 1985 and 1986 before entering the NFL draft in 1987. The Bengals selected the former Fighting Scot No. 103 overall in the 4th round, and he finished his career with 37 receptions for 274 yards.
For a minute or two, Riggs directed his speech to the students in the crowd and harped on the importance of work ethic regardless of what path they choose in life.
“Be a contributor to society, that’s the big thing. Found out what you want to do and do it,” he said. “Whatever is good to have is going to take a long time to get.”
Riggs ended his oration by thanking the Scotland County community for their support over the years on and off the gridiron.
“I played in Pate Stadium the first year it was built, and that place was packed every game. This football is going to the whole community of Scotland County. This community would do anything for anybody and there is just a love for everybody.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.