Provo • Timpview High football star Chris Badger stunned a lot of locals back in 2010 when he decommitted from Stanford, bypassed offers from BYU, Utah and others and signed with Notre Dame.
Badger gained a measure of notoriety when he became the first Notre Dame football player ever to leave for a two-year LDS Church mission.
He returned from Ecuador in 2012, and redshirted for the Irish last season when Notre Dame made it all the way to the National Championship Game.
Now, Badger is leaving Notre Dame again — this time for BYU.
“I’ve decided to come home to Utah so I can live with my [parents] and be closer to my family,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday night. “It’s going to be a better situation for me.”
Badger acknowledged that “personal reasons related to family issues” are the primary reasons why he is transferring, but did not want to elaborate or discuss details.
The 5-foot-11, 197-pound safety is walking away from a scholarship at Notre Dame and will walk on at BYU, joining the team next Tuesday, the day fall semester classes begin. He was buried on the depth chart at Notre Dame, but said that’s not why he is transferring.
“It’s more about me needing to be closer to home,” he said.
Badger got a release from Notre Dame last spring when he first toyed with the idea of leaving, and then again on Sunday after meeting with head coach Brian Kelly.
“Great guy. Nothing but supportive,” Badger said. “He cares about his players. He wants what is best for me.”
Badger spoke to BYU coaches briefly on Monday to make sure he could join the team as a walk-on.
To be able to play this season, Badger would have to receive a waiver from the NCAA, which mandates transfers sit out one year. He was uncertain Tuesday whether or not he, or BYU, would even ask for one.
He does believe that when he is eligible to play college football again, be it 2013 or 2014, he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Thornton back on offense
Sophomore Eric Thornton is back on the offensive side of the ball, and loving it. Thornton was moved from receiver to defensive back when cornerback Jordan Johnson suffered a season-ending injury early in fall camp. But with the emergence of another receiver who made the switch, Michael Davis, Thornton was moved back to receiver last week.
“Eric was playing really well on the offensive side before he came over. He got enough training, knows the defense well enough that if there is an injury, he could come back,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “But we think his role will be more significant, faster, and I think we served our purpose by adding depth with a cross-over player. So he goes back.”
Offensive line coach Garett Tujague said Tuesday that one of the four junior college offensive linemen scheduled to join BYU this fall, Edward Fusi, still has not been cleared to participate due to academic reasons. ... Only one of those juco transfers, De’Ondre Wesley, made the two-deep chart. Tujague said two offensive linemen who are not on the two-deep chart released Monday, Kyle Johnson and Tui Crichton, will also make the trip to Virginia.
BYU at Virginia
O Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MT
TV • ESPNU