Top remaining transfer WR Elijhah Badger chooses Florida, spurns Arizona, Washington

Between the allure of playing in the SEC and the promise of being the top target, the two former Pac-12 schools got washed out of the mix by the Gators.
Oregon v Arizona State
Oregon v Arizona State / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

After naming Arizona, Washington, and Florida as his top three schools on Wednesday, former ASU wide receiver announced on Friday, May 17, that he will be taking his talents to Gainesville to play for Billy Napier at Florida, per Hayes Fawcett of On3.

He would have been an integral part of the passing offense regardless of where he landed, and two spots offered a chance to be the top receiving target. It seems the allure of the SEC's bright lights was too much to resist.

What pushed the other schools out?

The top wide receiver role simply wouldn't have been available to him at Arizona, where he would have sat firmly behind Tetairoa McMillan with no room to overtake. Despite having his former positional coach Bobby Wade on staff, the inability to promise a feature role did Arizona in.

As for Washington, the roster is in shambles. Despite the opportunity to catch passes from a former SEC quarterback in Will Rogers, there's no guarantee that the Huskies will finish with a winning record — let alone reach the playoff heights they did last year under Kalen DeBoer.

Why Florida?

Graham Mertz
FLorida v Missouri / Ed Zurga/GettyImages

Florida, like all the other SEC schools and especially the old-money powerhouses like Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss, has a deep set of coffers. Paying players — whether officially or under the table — has long been a strategy employed by these schools. The Gators can compensate Badger handsomely for his services.

Badger will land at Florida with three years of playing experience under his belt and three more years of eligibility, and he figures to be the top option for the Gators and second-year transfer quarterback Graham Mertz. As a freshman in 2020, Badger would be granted the additional COVID year —his seventh season — if asked.

The first year he saw action was as a redshirt freshman in 2021, but it was sparing. In 2022, he finally found his footing as ASU's top target as a redshirt sophomore, and he ran it back as a redshirt junior in 2023. Now, with the COVID-19 redshirt in his bag and his true junior and senior seasons to boot, he has plenty of time to boost his NFL stock in the SEC.

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