Ohio State wide receiver Kamryn Babb’s injury history has been well-documented, so when he caught an eight-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 56-14 win over Indiana, emotions flowed through the fifth-year senior and his teammates as they mobbed him on the sidelines.
“Where do we start with that?” head coach Ryan Day said after the game. “What happened today in the stadium was magical. That’s one of the reasons why college football is special. It’s one of the reasons why you coach, to see something like that happen.
“Hopefully there’s somebody out there that’s going through tough times that can see that as motivation to overcome because it’s one thing to see that moment right there, but it’s all the morning workouts he had, all the mornings waking up on crutches (that you don’t see).
“I’m just really happy for him, but selfishly proud to be a part of a moment like that. To see someone overcome such great obstacles in life. I just can’t say enough about it because there’ll be great wins and there’ll be great accomplishments here at Ohio State, but that’s as special as I’ve been around.”
Babb has torn his ACL four times throughout his career, including ahead of his senior season of high school, as well as his freshman, redshirt freshman and redshirt junior seasons with the Buckeyes. He then suffered another setback in preseason camp that sidelined him for the first nine game this fall.
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Still, the two-time team captain and recipient of Ohio State’s Block “O” jersey, which honors late All-American and national champion Bill Willis, never gave up. And when his number was called on Saturday, he made it count by hauling in the first reception – and first touchdown catch – of his college career.
“I don’t know if words can describe it, but if I had to say a word, (I’m) just thankful,” Babb said. “Just thankful, first and foremost, for Jesus Christ. He’s my rock, my Lord and my savior, but also thankful for my teammates … I’m also just thankful to have a family that supported me at times when I just felt like I couldn’t keep going.
“They would always speak into me, especially my pops. He’s always been there, he’s always been the main person that believes I’m the best receiver in the world. Having him behind me means so much, and my mom, my whole family and teammates, I couldn’t be more thankful to have as many people as I do around me.”
After hauling in the pass from redshirt sophomore quarterback C.J. Stroud, Babb dropped to his knees in prayer as his teammates rushed to celebrate the moment with him. That then spilled over to the sideline, as player after player waited to give him a hug, drawing a delay of game penalty on the point-after attempt.
Babb then made his way to his mom, who was sitting in the first row and had tears in her eyes as she embraced her son after perhaps the moment of the year in college football. At the minimum, it will be a moment they – or anyone in the stadium this afternoon – will never forget.
“In a moment like that, when you see so many people around you just wanting to hug you, it just 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 because the people make Ohio State what it is, so I’m just thankful to be a part of it.”
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