Photos: Kam Williams Soars Above the Rest in Eleven Warriors' Top 11 Photos of 2015

By Jeremy Birmingham on December 30, 2015 at 8:15 pm
2015 in Photos

2015 was a special year for Ohio State sports.

The Buckeyes won a handful of national championships, including an improbable run through the first ever College Football Playoff that included victories over Alabama and Oregon.

But you remember that, because, in some way, you were there. You saw the images as Eleven Warriors did. In 2015, we traveled to and from New Orleans, Dallas, New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Arizona; along with stops inside the more traditional Big Ten footprint.

What you may not know is that with every Ohio State football game photo gallery you see, usually including 100-125 of the day's best images, there are literally thousands per weekend you don't. Each Ohio State football game, my cameras take roughly 2,000 pictures, and while basketball games might be half of that, it's wild to consider that in the year 2015 we took upwards of 28,000 football photos, have cranked out almost 10,000 basketball game images through the last eight weeks and have accumulated roughly 25,000 other pictures at various recruiting camps, celebrations, hockey games and more.

To narrow down the year's best images from that many shots was not an easy task, but–as the person behind the lens for nearly every one that we've chosen–there are moments that you just know you got something special, and today I wanted to share the looks from 2015 that stood out the most, at least to me. One of the more interesting elements of photography is that one person can see a picture and respond one way, another can see it and have a completely different reaction. 

Before we dive into what we've dubbed as the year's eleven best 11W images, here are few that just missed the cut.

Without further adieu, our choices for the top Eleven Warriors photos of 2015. 

11. Return of the Brax

​After missing nearly 20 months of football action following a pair of career-altering shoulder injuries, Ohio State's Braxton Miller returned to action in Blacksburg, Virginia, as the top-ranked Buckeyes began their national title defense.

Braxton Miller returned to action at Virginia Tech.
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

10. Matthew Weis Takes the Ice

As a website this year, we've tried to do a better job of covering all Ohio State sports, not just football and basketball. This photo of Matthew Weis, taken during the men's hockey team's season opener, is exactly why.

Ohio State hockey player Matthew Weis
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

9. Carmen, in Black

Ohio State, with some resistance from traditionalists, went for the gusto in 2015 by wearing an all-black alternate uniform at night against Penn State. The night, and the contrast of Penn State's all-whites set agains the Buckeyes' all-black, yielded some great images.

Ohio State in all black uniforms for the first time ever.
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

8. Here Come the Buckeyes

In Dallas, Urban Meyer leads the Buckeyes onto the field as Ohio State took on Oregon in the first ever College Football Playoff national title game. The lighting in the stadium, combined with the effects from the pyrotechnics that had just fired, provided an interesting look.

Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes take the field against Oregon.
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

7. Beat Alabama? No Sweat

Cardale Jones, weeks after eradicating the image of him as a fun-loving class clown instead of a focused and diligent quarterback, soaks up sweat from his face minutes before the start of the 2015 Sugar Bowl against Alabama. The unique lighting and depth in the image stood out and made this one a keeper on the first day of the year.

Cardale Jones pregame in the 2015 Sugar Bowl.
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

6. These Three Kings

It was freezing in Columbus but no amount of cold could stop the celebration that followed Ohio State's eighth national championship. J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller, who would be embroiled in months of a media-fueled debate about transferring, playing time and more, don't have a care in the world besides the moment they were in.

JT Barrett, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller celebrate in the cold.
Photo by Jason Priestas

5. Don't Mess with Decker

In between rain drops and pregame warmups, Ohio State's Taylor Decker, all 6-foot-8 and 300-plus pounds of him, cuts an imposing figure in this photo. This image creates an inspiring and, at least in my opinion, kind of an intimidating look and it's one of my favorites. 

Taylor Decker in the rain prior to the Buckeyes' home game against NIU.
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

4. Farris and Zeke Celebrate Tecmo Style

When it's Ohio State and Michigan, you just know there's bound to be an iconic moment or two. This year's tilt in Ann Arbor didn't disappoint. Ezekiel Elliott, after what was essentially a coffin-nailing touchdown run in the third quarter, celebrates with right tackle Chase Farris in a manner that paid homage to one of the all-time great video games, Tecmo Bowl.

Ezekiel Elliott and Chase Farris celebrate a score in Ann Arbor.
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

3. Perry Overcome by Emotional Loss

Ohio State's Joshua Perry, a senior captain and one of the team's emotional leaders, can't hold back tears following the Buckeyes' stunning upset loss on Senior Day in Columbus.

Joshua Perry can't fight back tears against Michigan State.
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

2. Ready to Feast

When it came down to it, the Buckeyes knew they'd be able to count on Ezekiel Elliott in last year's playoff run and this photo does a pretty good job of narrowing in on Elliott's intense focus prior to the start of the 2015 Sugar Bowl. The colors, the contrast from the smoky atmosphere and the look on his face make this a winning shot.

Ezekiel Elliott pregame against Alabama.
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham

1. Kam Slam

In an attempt to familiarize their fans with a roster full of new names and faces, Ohio State began what they hope to turn into an annual tradition: Buckeyes on the Blacktop. The outdoor event, which took place in early October, gave the faithful Scarlet and Gray fans their first glimpse at the 2015 basketball Bucks and it gave me the opportunity to get this shot. Kam Williams, between the legs, floating through the crisp Autumn night. It was simple, but really turned out well.

Kam Williams on the outdoor courts at Ohio State
Photo by Jeremy Birmingham
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