Florida Football: Ricky Pearsall left ASU and thrived. Could Elijah Badger follow?

The Florida Gators have set their sights on Arizona State's Elijah Badger.
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In the ever-evolving landscape of college football, the transfer portal has become a game-changer, allowing players to seek other opportunities and revitalize their careers. The Florida Gators have been no strangers to this trend, reaping the rewards of a successful transfer in Ricky Pearsall, who left Arizona State and parlayed his time in Gainesville into a first-round NFL Draft selection by the San Francisco 49ers. Now, the Gators have their sights set on another intriguing transfer portal prospect from Arizona State.

Elijhah Badger, a 6'2" receiver with deceptive speed and strong hands, has emerged as a prime target for the Gators. Despite the high turnover of six different quarterbacks over the past two seasons at Arizona State, Badger amassed 1,579 yards and ten touchdowns on 135 receptions. His ability to line up both outside and in the slot, combined with his knack for contested catches, makes him a versatile and valuable asset for any offense.

What sets Badger apart, however, is his impressive yards-after-catch (YAC) ability. In 2023, he nearly doubled his YAC per reception from the previous year, totaling 546 YAC yards. While Tre Wilson was the primary man used in the screen game for Florida, if the Gators can add Badger to the mix it would give Billy Napier another wrinkle to give defenses something to think about.

Drawing parallels to Pearsall's journey, Badger has the opportunity to follow a similar path to success. Like Pearsall, who transferred from Arizona State in 2022, Badger possesses the physical tools and on-field production that could translate seamlessly to the SEC. Pearsall's impact was immediate, as he became a go-to target for the Gators' offense, ultimately leading him to the NFL's doorstep.

The Gators' coaching staff has demonstrated a keen eye for identifying and developing transfer talent, and Badger's upcoming official visit on May 14th could be a significant first step. If he chooses to become a Gator, Badger will have the chance to showcase his skills on a bigger stage.