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Elijhah Badger has thrived in new role as ASU's No.1 receiver this year

The redshirt sophomore wide receiver leads the Sun Devils in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns

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ASU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Elijhah Badger (2) lining up for the play. ASU beat NAU 40-3 at Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday, Sep. 1, 2022.

On Sept. 10, ASU football took on Oklahoma State and lost 34-17. There weren't many positives to take away from the Sun Devils' performance as they were outclassed by the better team. 

That night, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Elijhah Badger made his statement as the top wide receiver position. He finished with six catches for 91 yards and scored his first career receiving touchdown as a Sun Devil.

"It felt good," Badger said of his breakout game. "I haven't had a game like that since high school. But I don't feel like that's my best performance. I can do better."

Badger hails from Sacramento, California and was a four-star recruit coming out of Folsom High School. In its composite rankings, 247Sports ranked him as the No. 23 receiver in the nation. 

In his first two years in Tempe, Badger didn't see much playtime. He redshirted his freshman year and was low on the depth chart his second year, only seeing the field in a reduced role as a "gadget" player where the team took advantage of his athleticism and dynamic ability.

Badger thrived in the few plays ASU gave him, scoring two touchdowns in only three rushes for the team in 2021. He still wasn't used in the passing game much, collecting only seven passes for 61 yards on the year. 

Through it all, Badger stayed humble and focused on putting the team's needs first. He expressed multiple times during the 2021 season and this past offseason that his only focus was improving his craft and helping the team get better. 

"I feel like I've just gained so much knowledge," Badger said. "Throughout my years at ASU, I've learned more about football. I always try to apply what I've been doing into practice into the game."

Going into this season there were a lot of question marks at the wide receiver position after the departure of former No.1 option Ricky Pearsall, who transferred to Florida at the end of last season. The Sun Devils needed a new go-to guy, and Badger was first in line to answer the call. 

"There were conversations during the spring that it was his turn to take the next step," said offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas. "I've been really impressed so far, he’s been more of a leader and he's got more of a comfort level as a receiver."

Halfway into the season, Badger has solidified himself as the top option. He leads the team in both receiving yards and touchdowns with 372 yards complemented by three touchdowns. 

"His biggest thing is his will to win," said wide receiver coach Bobby Wade. "I expect him to be able to compete with any defensive back in the country, that's how good he can be."

On Oct. 8, Badger collected two receiving touchdowns in a 45-38 upset against Washington for ASU's first win since the team defeated NAU more than a month ago. 

"I feel great right now," Badger said. "We brought home a win for the ASU community, we needed it." 

Badger should see similar results offensively for the second half of the season as he has finally solidified his place as the go-to receiver for the ASU football team.

 ASU takes on Stanford in Palo Alto this Saturday at 1 p.m.

Edited by Kathryn Field, David Rodish and Piper Hansen.

Reach the reporter at and follow @vdeangelis2024 on Twitter.

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Vinny DeangelisSports Reporter

Vincent Deangelis is a full-time reporter for the sports department at The State Press. He has previously worked for Arizona PBS andΒ 

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