What role could Kamryn Babb fill in Ohio State football receiver rotation?
Wide receiver Kamryn Babb’s long-awaited moment at Ohio State came late in a 56-14 rout of Indiana last week.
Babb, a fifth-year senior who overcame multiple anterior cruciate ligament injuries in a story of perseverance, caught his first career pass for an 8-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was his first appearance for the Buckeyes since contributing on special teams in the College Football Playoff two seasons ago.
Kamryn Babb:Magical moment: Ohio State receiver Kam Babb blessed to score TD, share faith | Rob Oller
Ohio State in College Football Playoffs:Ohio State AD Gene Smith changes mind: He's fine with having playoff game at Ohio Stadium
His fourth ACL tear cost him all of last season, and a nick from a preseason practice in August sidelined him for the first nine games this fall.
Whether Babb’s role can increase beyond Saturday, when he rotated in for a handful of snaps, remains to be seen, though. Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said much will hinge on what Babb is able to do physically.
“If he can take on more, absolutely we’ll give it to him,” Day said. “We’ll just have to see how much more his body can take on.”
Day said Tuesday that he was uncertain about what that volume might be, pointing to the severity of the preseason setback. Since he was hurt three months ago, Babb has worn a brace on his left knee.
“I hope it’ll be a lot,” Day said. “I just don’t know.”
Though opportunities for playing time have been limited, Babb has been an inspirational figure within the program for his handling of the string of injuries and was selected by teammates as a captain for the second straight season. He also became this year’s recipient of the Block “O” jersey, an honor given in recognition of the late All-American Bill Willis.
But Babb also once figured to see a prominent role in the Buckeyes’ offense as a top-100 recruit who signed with Ohio State as part of its recruiting class for 2018.
Before going down in preseason camp, he had built a rapport for quarterback C.J. Stroud in spring practice.
“I know C.J. really liked throwing to him,” Day said.
Day praised Babb, who is listed as 6 feet and 210 pounds, for a variety of skills.
“Very conscientious,” Day said. “Very smart. Understands the game. Strong. Powerful. Explosive. Good hands. Runs excellent routes. Very accountable. Good quickness in and out of the break. Really good body language.”
The Buckeyes have relied heavily on their top three receivers — Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming — while Jaxon Smith-Njigba has been sidelined for most of this season with an injured hamstring.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.