Former ASU WR Elijhah Badger transfers to Florida after considering Arizona

May 17, 2024, 1:11 PM

Wide receiver Elijhah Badger #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils catches a 65-yard touchdown recepti...

Wide receiver Elijhah Badger #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils catches a 65-yard touchdown reception against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first half of the NCAAF game at Mountain America Stadium on September 09, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Former Arizona State wide receiver Elijhah Badger is transferring to Florida, choosing the SEC school after considering a potential rivalry flip to join the Arizona Wildcats, he announced on Friday.

Badger follows in the footsteps of Ricky Pearsall, a Tempe Corona Del Sol alum who played three seasons at ASU before two seasons at Florida. Badger will try to follow in the NFL first-rounder footsteps as well, after Pearsall was selected No. 31 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound wideout was a four-star recruit and exploded as a sophomore, catching 70 balls for 866 yards and seven touchdowns. A breakout junior campaign was on deck before ASU’s quarterback carousel forced by injuries put that on pause for Badger. He still remained productive despite Arizona State ranking 86th out of 130 teams in passing yards per game, racking up 65 catches for 713 yards and three touchdowns. Arizona State only had eight passing touchdowns all season.

The Gators were 5-7 in 2023 under head coach Billy Napier, who served as the Arizona State offensive coordinator in 2017. Pearsall led the team with 965 receiving yards on 65 catches, and the hole he leaves can be filled by Badger. Quarterback Graham Mertz passed on the 2024 NFL Draft, electing to come back for a sixth season. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards as a fifth-year senior with a 20-3 touchdown-interception ratio.

Rob Sale, who was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator on Napier’s offensive staff at ASU, will be co-offensive coordinator for the Gators along with Russ Callaway. Sale was the sole offensive coordinator the previous two seasons. Callaway was Florida’s tight ends coach and will continue to serve in that role in addition to his co-offensive coordinating duties.

Arizona State still has talent in the pass-catching department despite Badger’s exit. Seniors Xavier Guillory and Melquan Stovall were both starters last year while redshirt sophomore Jordyn Tyson and junior Troy Omeire both have some buzz out of spring ball. Omeire tied with Badger for the touchdown receptions lead at three, and Guillory was second among ASU wideouts in receiving yards (226).

Badger is one of a handful of notable Sun Devils that entered the transfer portal this offseason, joining quarterback Jaden Rashada, tight end Jalin Conyers, safety Jordan Clark, defensive lineman B.J. Green and tight end Bryce Pierre.

Badger is the second receiver to transfer into Florida this offseason, joining former Wisconsin receiver Chimere Dike. Badger is the third-highest rated transfer addition for the Gators, according to 247Sports, behind former USC offensive lineman Jason Zandamela and former Colorado cornerback Cormani McClain.

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