When No. 4 Ohio State takes the field Thursday against Minnesota, established stars like wide receiver Chris Olave and defensive tackle Haskell Garrett will be among the six captains this season. Joining them will be a less-heralded wideout named Kamryn Babb.
A former four-star prospect out of Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Missouri, Babb’s career as a Buckeye has not gone the way he envisioned. A torn ACL ended his senior year of high school early. He suffered the same injury his first season in Columbus.
It happened again the next year. Then, during spring practice this year, Babb tore his ACL for the fourth time.
“Every time, I was just like, ‘It might be time to wrap it up,’” he said in an interview with Buckeyes Now. “But I felt really good and I talked to the doctors and stuff, and for somebody that’s torn four ACLs, you wouldn’t be able to really tell. I feel great. That’s all praise and glory to God for [me] being able to move and run and do the things I can still do, so I do feel like I can still play at a very high level.”
Babb has only appeared in seven games for the Buckeyes as a result of the injures, all of which came in the 2020 season when they lost to Alabama in the national championship game. Despite the lack of playing time, his teammates thought enough of his leadership skills to vote him a captain.
“I was definitely surprised, but I’m very grateful,” Babb said about the captaincy in the same interview. “I’m thankful for all my teammates, my coaches. It’s just an honor just to hear all the names that came before me, just to be a part of this program and leave my mark in that way, especially not playing as much as I’ve wanted to play. Just leaving my mark off the field has been a blessing. I’m just very thankful for the opportunity.”
The team sent out a video on social media of Babb and wide receivers coach Brian Hartline calling Babb’s parents to share the news:
"Some people remember stats. Everyone remembers how you make them feel."
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) August 27, 2021
OSU head coach Ryan Day wholeheartedly agrees with the decision his players made to give Babb the honor of being a captain and believes it’s a testament to his character.
“Something that’s a mark of a lot of successful people is the ability to be resilient and bounce back from adversity and failure and emotional pain, and [Babb] is the epitome of that,” Day told Buckeyes Now. “He’s been an unbelievable leader. He’s set a standard.”
Through all the disappointment and pain and rehabbing, Babb has leaned on his relationship with Christ. The header on his Twitter profile is Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” His Instagram bio includes John 14:6 and “Jesus Christ is Lord.”
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Though Babb will miss at least part of the upcoming season as he recovers from his most recent injury, he is hopeful he can eventually make an impact on the field in addition to his contributions off it. For now, he’s placing it all in the Lord’s hands.
“I think I can be a very explosive and dynamic player, but I just want to play football and be here for Ohio State and for the football team in any way I can,” Babb said. “Whatever that may look like, I just give it to the Lord and that’s it.
“I found Him in the midst of all these trials and everything I’m going through. He’s put so many great people around me — all the players and training staff — so I’m not alone. I never have been. But I would say the root of it all is Jesus Christ. That’s my foundation and He’s my everything.”
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Annually among the squads expected to compete for a berth in the College Football Playoff, Ohio State kicks off the season at Minnesota on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on FOX.
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