Florida football lands impact transfers to boost 2024 hopes

Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY

Florida football received a major injection of talent for the 2024 season, bringing a renewed sense of optimism to the Swamp. In a savvy display of roster-building via the transfer portal, head coach Billy Napier secured commitments from former five-star cornerback Cormani McClain and standout wide receiver Elijhah Badger.

For a Florida team looking to recapture its status as an SEC powerhouse, the additions of McClain and Badger could prove transformative on both sides of the ball.

On defense, McClain's return to his home state represents a massive coup for the Gators' secondary. The former top recruit from the state of Florida turned away offers from colleges across the nation to initially sign with Colorado out of high school. After a one-year stint with the Buffaloes, McClain now returns to his roots and will wear the orange and blue.

Rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 21 overall transfer in the portal rankings, McClain possesses the athleticism and coverage skills to be an immediate lockdown cornerback for the Gators. His combination of size, speed and ball skills should allow him to neutralize opposing offenses' top receiving threats in 2024.

While McClain boosts the defense, Badger provides Napier with an explosive offensive weapon through the air. The former Arizona State standout was productive last season with 65 receptions for 713 yards.

Ranked as the No. 184 overall transfer, Badger's consistent ability to separate from defenders should mesh perfectly with Florida's passing game. His savvy route-running, complemented by deceptive deep speed, makes him a dynamic downfield threat for quarterback Graham Mertz.

Out of high school, here is what Brandon Huffman of 247Sports had to say:

"Has good length and instincts, tremendous hands... Projects as multi-year Power 5 starter and projects as third day NFL draft selection."

Brandon Huffman, 247Sports

By landing these two elite transfers, Florida has assembled an impressive transfer class that currently ranks 5th nationally per 247Sports. With 15 new arrivals, including six four-star prospects, the Gators appear poised to rapidly reload their roster after a disappointing 2023 campaign.

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