Arizona State's Trenton Bourguet calls Elijhah Badger one of the best WRs in the country
In an otherwise disappointing season, Arizona State wideout Elijhah Badger has had as encouraging an individual campaign as anyone on the team.
The third-year Sacramento native has enjoyed a breakout campaign. Entering the season, he had seven catches for 61 yards in limited appearances. This season, Badger has 53 catches for 710 yards and five scores. He’s averaging 13 yards a catch, and currently ranks fourth among all Pac-12 players in receiving yardage.
Badger had 118 yards and a score against Stanford on Oct. 22. He followed that up with an eight-catch, 137-yard outing against Colorado a week later. In ASU’s near-upset of UCLA last weekend, he had 83 yards and a score on eight catches.
There’s a budding chemistry with ASU’s new starting quarterback Trenton Bourguet. And Bourguet thinks Badger is one of the best there is in the country at his position.
“I think he had a great offseason, working on his body,” Bourguet said. “He was already super athletic but I think that’s the biggest thing. I remember his freshman year he made some spectacular catches where I’m like, ‘If this guy can hone in and focus on not just off the field but on the field as well — in the weight room, everything, film.
“He’s done a great job of breaking down DBs, coming back to me, ‘Hey, this DB is opening up his hips this way.’ So we’re kind of on that same page. Even when it’s a run play, he’s doing a good job of looking at what the defense is running. We’re just trying to have that on-field connection that we have. He’s done a great job, not just running (routes) but we’re watching film and he had some pancake blocks this past weekend. He’s doing a good job of just being a great team player. At the end of the day, he’s one of the best wideouts in the country.”
Badger is the Pac-12’s second-highest-graded receiver this season, per Pro Football Focus. He sits only behind USC’s Jordan Addison, which feels like pretty decent company to keep. Among qualified Power Five receivers, he has a top-10 grade.
The 6-foot-2 wideout has proven to be a playmaker, and a reliable one at that. He and the Sun Devils return to the field on Saturday in Pullman to battle Washington State. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network.