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Jeff Badet’s Out; What’s Next?

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

The University of Kentucky announced that rising senior receiver Jeff Badet is transferring from the program. The news was somewhat surprising given Badet’s late season, big-play significance that considerably influenced Mark Stoops’ team in its resurgence to a New Year’s bowl game. But, thinking back there was an in-season “discussion” between the team’s leading receiver (yardage) and head coach that could have acted as a precursor to Friday’s declaration.

Jeff Badet was the Wildcats big-play receiver in 2016: 31 receptions, 671 yards, 4 TDs, 21.6 ypc. His connection with QB Stephen Johnson during post routes became a thing of beauty. Badet’s YAC (yards after catch) were reflected in his 21.6 yards per reception average that was good enough for 2nd best in Kentucky Football history as well as being one of the best in all of college football.

Badet’s departure will be felt early on in 2017. But, just like in life, the show and team must go on. I agree with assessments that his absence is substantial but I’d be negligent if I didn’t add a realistic approach to the Kentucky receiver corps.

Photo by Jeff Drummond

Photo by Jeff Drummond

During the 2016 season I frequently said that UK needed to focus recruiting on two positions: receiver and defensive line. To be frank; 31 catches and 4 TDs are not #1 receiver numbers and are replaceable; granted, if the Cats had been more proficient in the passing game, Badet’s stats would have been much higher. But if Kentucky’s 2017 leading receiver doesn’t exceed 31 catches and 4 TDs then there will be bigger issues than a single player’s decision to transfer. While the importance of losing a home run threat and a veteran receiver like Jeff Badet cannot be understated, Lamar Thomas will have other options. Garrett Johnson is now expected to be the Cats’ top explosive-play receiver. Juice will have company in that department.

X, or outside receivers Dorian Baker, Blake Bone, Kayaune Ross, Jabari Greenwood and Tavin Richardson will be joined by incoming 4-star JaVonte Richardson and late-riser Isaiah Epps.

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 12.19.23 PM

Left: Clevan Thomas (Pic by The Spun); Right: JaVonte Richardson

Inside or slot pass catchers will include Charles Walker, Zy’aire Hughes, and Garrett Johnson along with highly explosive rookie Clevan Thomas who is already on campus preparing for spring practice. If things play out to trend, Saturday’s announcement in Youngstown would mean that the ultra-explosive athlete Lynn Bowden will be added to the list. UK is also diligently working for signatures from Miami WR Kevaughn Dingle and 4-star Danny Davis. All incoming freshman receivers are good enough to play now.

If you noticed in the title, my question is “what’s” next, not who. Wildcat running backs’ pass catching status will be enhanced by redshirt freshman AJ Rose as well as possible late additions to the Class of 17. Kentucky’s outside-WR/inside-WR/RB/TE should be talented and deep enough to evolve into a complete passing game that can absorb Badet’s departure while providing balance to Benny Snell’s rushing attack.

While leaning on freshman can be a dangerous proposition in college football, receiver is a position that is friendly towards the inexperienced. The football rule of thumb states that the further the position is from the pre-snapped football the easier the transition is for rookies.

As expected, both Mark Stoops and Jeff Badet were classy and respectful in remarks:

Stoops, “I appreciate Jeff and the contributions he made to the program during his time here.” We wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Jeff Badet, “I want to thank all the coaches, especially Coach Stoops, for everything they’ve done for me over the past four years.” I also want to thank my brothers on the team and the Big Blue Nation for their support. I just feel like it’s the best decision for me to finish my career as a graduate transfer. I’ll always be proud of receiving my degree from UK and I’ll bleed blue forever.”

We wish Jeff Badet the best of luck and would like to say thanks for hard work and positive results while in Lexington. Set to graduate in May with an Agricultural Economics degree, Badet has performed his duties as a Wildcat at an extremely high level.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

9 Comments for Jeff Badet’s Out; What’s Next?

  1. GroundControlToNumber9
    1:34 pm January 13, 2017 Permalink

    It’s getting a little crowded at the wideout spot @ UK now that they can recruit for someone who has 2 of the 4 most valuable attributes to being a wide out.

    1. Speed – Check
    2. Route Discipline – Check
    3. Hands – No
    4. Durability – No

    Live and die by the sword. If you can’t catch what’s the benefit to speed & route discipline? The answer is zero.

    Unfortunately he’s going to be known to NFL scouts as the guy who left UK because he has questionable hands.

    NFL scouts will still give him a chance in the combine due to his speed (which is a huge) regardless of if he plays for UK or Troy. But hands are one of those gifts that comes with extreme focus. Something I think this kid never put the iron into the fire to be rewarded with.

  2. RogerW
    2:27 pm January 13, 2017 Permalink

    I can’t blame the kid. He has 1 year left to impress scouts. With Snell, I would think out running game will be a focal point. Then factor in that Johnson is wildly inaccurate on passes. He probably wants to go somewhere with a quarterback that can get him the ball. Not knocking Johnson, he has his good points, but hitting wide open players isn’t one of them. Hopefully that changes during the off season. Hopefully he improves to the point that he can at least hit the tight ends over the middle. We are stacked at tight end and need to utilize them.

    • ClutchCargo
      2:36 pm January 13, 2017 Permalink

      “he has his good points, but hitting wide open players isn’t one of them.” No offense, but that sounds like a quote from a comedy movie about a football team. lol

    • Ben27
      3:09 pm January 13, 2017 Permalink

      There were just as many passes dropped as off target. Receivers on good team’s do not drop accurate passes. Next person up will do quite nicely with the talent we are accumulating! Good Luck Jeff, UK will do just fine next year

    • RogerW
      4:31 pm January 13, 2017 Permalink


      I wont deny that receivers dropped passes, but that doesn’t change the fact that Johnson is highly inaccurate. It was well documented how he and Conrad were having trouble hooking up. So much so, that when he finally hit a wide open Conrad it was news and he admitted that they had been working on it a lot in practice. The good thing is he knows what his short comings are do the coaches. I’m sure they will be working on those things during the off season.

  3. Luether
    3:00 pm January 13, 2017 Permalink

    Good riddance…

  4. secrick
    4:19 pm January 13, 2017 Permalink

    Freddie, Was hoping you would say why you thought he was leaving but i understand we shouldn’t be speculating at something like this.

  5. InigoMontoya
    11:13 am January 15, 2017 Permalink

    Freddie, would it be possible for you to give a critique of the 5 star rating system? What’s included (officially & unofficially) and what’s not. Why some kids don’t get rated at all.

    –What does a 5 star rating mean? (are they capable of starting immediately (after learning the playbook) on the best college teams? 2nd tier? Mid-major, etc.?
    –Could a good 2nd level player have such advanced technique at a camp that he could beat a superior physical specimen, and get a 5 star (but he doesn’t have much further potential, as opposed to the undeveloped natural athlete)?
    –What does a 4 star rated player lack (if anything)? Were the judges just in a funk on the day of evaluation?
    –Does the number of camps attended affect anything?
    –What intangibles are included, which aren’t? Which subjective opinions are considered/not considered?
    –Does the system include work-ethic, character, etc.?
    –And whatever else you feel is pertinent.

    Help US judge the “Judges”.