Former Louisville cornerback Shaq Wiggins says he has a solid list of schools he's considering as a graduate transfer, but his release from the Cardinals comes with restrictions.
Wiggins told ESPN that coach Bobby Petrino initially ruled that Louisville would not allow him to transfer to Kentucky, Mississippi State, Purdue, Notre Dame and Western Kentucky.
On Friday, Wiggins appealed the restrictions. After the appeals process, Petrino granted permission for Wiggins to seek a transfer to Mississippi State. He is still restricted, however, from Kentucky, Purdue, Notre Dame and Western Kentucky.
Even though Wiggins is a grad transfer, which allows him to play immediately this fall, it's understandable that Petrino wouldn't allow him to transfer to Purdue or Kentucky because they are on Louisville's 2017 schedule. However, Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Western Kentucky are not on that schedule.
Wiggins said Thursday he was most confused over the idea that he couldn't transfer to Mississippi State. Wiggins said he assumed it was because former Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham left the Cardinals for the same position at Mississippi State in January, but he couldn't be for sure.
"When [Petrino] said Mississippi State, I was like, it had to be deeper than what it seems to be because Louisville doesn't play Mississippi State," Wiggins said. "It just so happened to be Mississippi State on there, once Coach Grantham left.
"I really don't know what's his state of thinking or why he chose to put Mississippi State on there. ... I have no idea why. It's really not fair."
So Friday, Wiggins made his case. And the Mississippi State restriction was lifted.
Louisville did not have a comment on the situation when contacted by ESPN.
Wiggins said Thursday the Bulldogs would be on his short list. Right now, he's also strongly considering South Carolina and Tennessee.
Outside of his close relationship with Grantham, Wiggins said he'd strongly consider Mississippi State because former Louisville cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley is also on staff. Buckley coached Wiggins at Louisville in 2014-15, before taking the same job at Mississippi State in 2016.
Transfer restrictions aren't new to the sport. Last year, first-year Georgia coach Kirby Smart took heat for restricting running back A.J. Turman from transferring to SEC schools, Georgia Tech or Miami. Smart said he restricted a transfer to Miami because he wanted to eliminate an immediate path for players to rejoin former Georgia coach Mark Richt with the Hurricanes.
"I wanted to set the precedent for the future that kids would not be able to go to Miami right away," Smart told reporters last spring. "It's very important that we understand that, and that's pretty much standard operating procedure when a coach leaves one place, that a kid can't go there with the coach. That's important to me that people understand that."
Turman eventually transferred to Florida Atlantic.
Wiggins began his college career at Georgia while Grantham was the defensive coordinator in 2013. He played 12 games, making eight starts, and led the team with two interceptions that season. After Grantham left for Louisville in 2014, Wiggins later followed him. After sitting out the 2014 season, Wiggins started all 13 games in 2015, recording 30 tackles and leading the team with 11 pass breakups.
Injuries hampered Wiggins' 2016 season, as he played in only eight games and registered eight tackles with three pass breakups.
Wiggins said he's planning to appeal his transfer restrictions. He has yet to visit any schools but hopes to enroll somewhere by June or July.
"There are a lot of options out there," Wiggins said. "There are a lot of good situations out here for me and my skill set. I have to just take it slow and think about a lot of stuff."