© 2023 BVM Sports. Best Version Media, LLC.

Milestone catch brings Kamryn Babb’s resiliency to spotlight

Milestone catch brings Kamryn Babb’s resiliency to spotlight
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Kamryn Babb (0) celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter of their NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. (Credit: Brooke LaValley/The Columbus Dispatch-USA TODAY NETWORK)
Mike Roberts

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BVM) – The Ohio State Buckeyes receiving core has been the topic of discussion since day one of the 2022 season. With college football’s top wideout in Jaxon Smith-Njigba set for another dominant campaign, and the rise of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka on the horizon, fifth-year wide receiver Kamryn Babb entered the 2022 season with a far different set of expectations. 

Four serious leg injuries dating back to his senior high school season had left Babb’s opportunity to produce in 2022 as a mere long shot. After missing the opening of the Buckeyes’ early slate, Babb provided arguably the moment of the year for Ohio State after taking full advantage of the opportunity that presented itself in the fourth quarter of the team’s matchup against Indiana. 

The 8-yard touchdown marked a milestone achievement for the St. Louis native who tallied his first career reception with the score. Behind five seasons and four rehab processes, Babb received the moment he had worked so hard for.

“The past five years, that’s kind of been a dream of mine is whenever I catch a touchdown, whenever that moment is, to get on my knees and give praise to him, to Jesus Christ, because that’s the only hope that I truly have,” Babb said following the team’s 56-14 win. “I love football. I love what it can do for so many people. But I just know there’s a world with a whole bunch of stuff going on and so many people need hope. So if I could give and shine the light that Jesus has given me and give that to others, I think that’s my responsibility.”

The former No. 73 player from the Class of 2018 was once the marquee name entering the Buckeyes program his freshman year headlining alongside tight end Jeremy Ruckert. Coming off a torn ACL in his final high school season, the Ohio State coaching staff remained committed to the Missouri product, hoping that a return as a freshman would continue to fuel his rise at the position.

Kamryn Babb Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Kamryn Babb (0) celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter of their NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. (Credit: Brooke LaValley-The Columbus Dispatch)
Ncaa Football Indiana Hoosiers At Ohio State Buckeyes

Unfortunately for Babb, a series of separate ACL tears in 2018 and 2019 would provide a challenging rehab process, as the then-junior aimed for a 2020 return. Limited playing time in the shortened COVID season allowed Babb to see the field, but the hope of a bigger role in the upcoming year would once again hit a roadblock. Devastating injury luck presented itself in 2021 as the Ohio State wide receiver was shut down once again with another ACL injury before the opening of the campaign. 

“When it happened the last time, there was just a lot of questions on whether he wanted to do it,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said of Babb’s last rehab. “He never batted an eye. He said this is what he wanted to do. He put his faith in God and felt like this was his journey and what happened today in the stadium was magical. 

“That’s what college football means to a lot of people… That’s one of the reasons why you coach is to see something like that happen. Hopefully there is somebody out there that is going through tough times that can see that as a motivation to overcome.”

Following nine-month recovery processes throughout his collegiate career, the catch on Saturday signified quite the season debut for Babb who showcased his resilient effort to the college football world. With a commitment to the program since 2017, a touchdown in Columbus had been a long time coming.

“In a moment like that, when you see so many people around you just wanting to hug you, it kind of leans back on the brotherhood and what we really have,” Babb said. “It’s not just a word to us. It’s the guys in the locker room that make that possible and the coaches that we have, as well.

“I’m grateful to be at this university and on this team. I tell people all the time I wouldn’t have changed a thing just because the people make Ohio State what it is, so I’m just thankful to be a part of it.”

With two final games remaining on Ohio State’s regular season schedule, Babb likely provided what will be an unsurpassable moment for the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes as they prepare for a crucial upcoming stretch.