COLUMBUS, Ohio — Repeated injuries haven’t diminished Kamryn Babb’s leadership ability with Ohio State football.
Even after another torn ACL – his fourth – prematurely ended his 2021 season, Babb was named one of Buckeye’s captains. On Saturday, the program bestowed another honor on the fifth-year wide receiver by naming him the recipient of the No. 0 “Block O” jersey for 2022.
Ohio State started the O block tradition ahead of the 2020 season. Defensive end Jonathon Cooper wore the jersey that season. Offensive lineman Thayer Munford, last season’s recipient, wore it during warm-ups but was unable to wear it in games due to NCAA uniform number rules.
The honor is for a player who shows the same tenacity, responsibility and character that Willis was known for in his career. Babb was an obvious choice.
Babb, who previously wore the already coveted No. 1, entered the top 100 receivers of the 2018 recruiting class. Those repeated knee injuries, however, limited him to eight career games. He is a four-time OSU Scholar Athlete and three-time Academic All-Big Ten who graduated in communications last December. He was one of three students who spoke at the inauguration of President Kristina M. Johnson.
During a halftime tribute to the late Dwayne Haskins in Ohio State’s spring game, Babb led the team in prayer in midfield.
Willis was an American defensive end from 1942-44, helping OSU win its first national title in 1942. The Columbus native, along with Marion Motley, became the first black professional football players when they signed with the Browns in September 1946. They broke that color barrier before Jackie Robinson did the same with baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers about seven months later.
Willis was a four-time First-Team All-Pro selection and won three Pro Bowls. He led the Browns to the NFL Championship in 1950. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
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