Kamryn Babb has suffered yet another setback.
The fifth-year senior wide receiver suffered another injury during preseason camp, Ryan Day confirmed Monday, just over a week after Babb was awarded the Block 0 jersey and named a team captain for the second year in a row.
Babb will be unavailable to begin the season, though his injury is not expected to be season-ending, leaving hope that he could still make a long-awaited impact on the field this year. Day said Ohio State is being cautious with Babb given his injury history and will rely on team doctors to determine when it is safe for him to return to the field.
“He had a setback, but not a setback that's gonna cost him the whole year,” Day said. “So he's out for a little while. Hoping to get him back here in a couple weeks.
“His situation is very unique because of his background and his history. So we're just going to trust the doctors on it and kind of see where that goes. But hoping to get him back on the field.”
A top-100 recruit out of high school, Babb has been bitten by the injury bug repeatedly since he arrived at Ohio State, missing three of his first four seasons with the Buckeyes due to torn ACLs. Dating back to his senior year of high school, Babb has torn each of his ACLs two separate times, and he has played just 31 offensive snaps in his Ohio State career – all in the COVID-shortened season of 2020 – as a result. He has yet to catch a pass as a Buckeye.
Even so, many Ohio State coaches and players have expressed optimism this offseason that Babb could contribute to the Buckeyes’ receiver rotation this year. Even after Babb suffered a meniscus tear this spring and what Day described as a “tweak” to his knee early in preseason camp, there remained hope Babb would be fully healthy for the season and able to finally put his skills on display this fall.
“If he can stay healthy, he's gonna have an impact on this offense for sure,” Day said of Babb this spring.
His latest setback, though, has made his chances of earning significant playing time this season more uncertain. If he is able to get back to full health this fall, he’ll have to earn his way back into a wide receiver rotation that’s expected to be led by Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr., Julian Fleming and Emeka Egbuka and could also include Xavier Johnson and Jayden Ballard, among others.
Babb will continue to be an important leader for the Buckeyes from the sidelines, as he has been described as one of the team’s most impactful figures despite all the injuries he’s endured. After receiving the Block 0 jersey on Aug. 13, Babb made it clear he did not take that honor lightly and would do whatever he could to help the Buckeyes perform at their best this season.
“It’s an honor to have this number attached to my name,” Babb said. “With it comes the responsibility to lead this team any way that I can.”
Babb said this spring that he felt he could have a bigger presence as a leader if he was actually on the field. Unfortunately for Babb, his on-field aspirations have been put on hold again for the time being.