Jeff Badet is leaving one Stoops to play for another, the speedy wide receiver announced via Twitter on Tuesday morning, just as his former coaches were discussing how UK will be replacing the senior.
Badet, a graduate transfer, tweeted: “Same goals. Same mindset. Different location.” And a hashtag familiar to Oklahoma fans: “BoomerSooner.”
It means Badet, who was seemed to indicate that he wanted to play in a more pass-oriented offense during his final season, now will be playing for Mark Stoops’ older brother Bob.
The 6-foot wide receiver from Orlando, Fla., caught 31 passes for 670 yards and four touchdowns. He led the league and was sixth nationally in yards per catch. Badet’s 31 catches were second-most on the team behind Garrett Johnson’s 39.
Johnson’s name has been mentioned regularly among those most likely to replace Badet at the outside receiver spot. It’s difficult to replace Badet’s speed, but wideout coach Lamar Thomas likes his options.
“Jeff was a different type of player, very explosive, but we’re also going to throw Garrett out there,” he said. “Tavin (Richardson) and (Blake) Bone and Kayaune (Ross), Jabari (Greenwood) are all guys, they’re not as fast as Badet, but they use their height and their longness.
“They’re different players. We all embrace the fact that Jeff’s no longer with us. And they’re excited about the opportunity they have in front of them.”
And just because none of those players have the speed of a Badet necessarily doesn’t mean they don’t have other attributes that will make them difference-makers this season, Thomas said.
“Sometimes — I learned this in college — you don’t have to be the fastest guy; you’ve just got to know what you’re doing and know how to read defenses and know when to go at full speed. They’re all embracing it and there’s not a drop-off so far.”
Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran specifically mentioned Dorian Baker, Bone and Tavin Richardson as players ready to have a breakout autumn.
“The receiving crew I think they’ve taken a step right now between the scrimmage and today,” Gran said Tuesday. “We talked about Blake and Tavin and some of those guys having to step up and get those extra yards. Dorian made a couple of great catches today that were fantastic. Tavin made a contested catch in the red zone, which he’s going to have to do as a big body.”