When Kentucky looked for a home-run ball or chunk yardage in the passing game in 2016, quite often they’d turn to Jeff Badet. This coming season, they’ll be forced to look in another direction.
In a somewhat surprising development, UK announced Friday that Badet has decided out of Mark Stoops‘ football program. No specific reason was given for the unexpected departure.
The wide receiver is expected to graduate in May, which would make him eligible to play at another FBS program this upcoming season.
“I want to thank all the coaches, especially Coach Stoops, for everything they’ve done for me over the past four years,” Badet said in a statement. “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.”
A three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2013 recruiting class, Badet was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards as a true freshman. A leg injury in spring practice the following year — a tennis ball to the eye didn’t help either — led Badet to miss the 2014 season. Returning in 2015, he was third in receiving (29-430); in 2016, he led the team in receiving yards (670) and yards per catch (21.6).
That latter number was tops in the SEC and sixth nationally.
“I appreciate Jeff and the contributions he made to the program during his time here,” Stoops said in his statement. “We wish him the best of luck in the future.”