Football: Cameron Odom has solid first college start against Hampton

 

Ohio freshman wide receiver Cameron Odom (#3) hauls in a 48-yard catch from quarterback Quinton Maxwell during the third quarter of the Bobcats’ 59-0 win over Hampton on Saturday at Peden Stadium.

 

Cameron Odom sat at the green cloth-covered table wearing a white tank top. The Bobcat logo was in the center of the tank top with the word “Bleed” on the left and the word “Green” on the right.

A tattoo of his high school No. 17 graced his left arm. He wore the number in honor of his cousin who died as a premature baby. The acronym “LOW LIFE,” which stands for “Lack of Worries, Living in Fearless Effort,” is also part of the tattoo sleeve; Odom’s last name is above it. On the inside of the tattoo is the date his cousin died, with the words “Under Your Wing” accompanying it.

Odom, a redshirt freshman wide receiver for Ohio, started his first game Saturday against Hampton, a game the Bobcats won 59-0.

He dedicates playing sports to his cousin, and, as the season begins, he also dedicates playing to Elijah Ball and Mayne Williams. Ball suffered a torn ACL during fall camp, and he’ll be out for the season, while Williams is out indefinitely with a neck injury.

“Just going into the game, it was an exciting moment,” Odom said. “I was trying to sleep last night just thinking about the game. But after the first play, my nerves were calm.”

When he was trying to sleep, Odom thought of the plays he would make. It’s what he usually does when preparing for games, and wide receivers coach Dwayne Dixon urges positive thoughts, too.

The visual preparation worked, too. Odom led the team in receiving yards with 75, and he averaged 18.8 yards per catch.

When the Bobcats were up 36-0 near the beginning of the third quarter, Odom caught a 48-yard pass from quarterback Quinton Maxwell. That was the longest passing play of the game.

Odom dedicating this season to Ball is admirable. While Odom is a good receiver, Ball was slated to start this season.

Both are part of the Bobcats’ youth movement — Ball is only a redshirt sophomore, and Odom was one of the younger players who contributed for the Bobcats against Hampton.

Coach Frank Solich was pleased with his young players’ respective performances.

“When you have guys that do respond the way our guys did respond in this game, and especially the young guys, that’s very encouraging,” Solich said.

Odom fought through an injury before the season. During fall camp, he battled a stress fracture in his back, and he practiced with no contact.

To indicate he was not to be hit or touched, Odom wore a red jersey over his green practice jersey. The week before the game, though, Odom didn’t wear the red jersey.

Odom is perhaps one of the Bobcats’ top young receivers, and with his help, the Bobcats have the potential to have a solid season.

When Odom came on his official visit to Ohio, Ball and Williams were the first two people he met. Odom and Ball looked forward to playing together this season, and Odom said their bond is similar to cornerbacks — and twins — Ilyaas and Xavior Motley.

Before the Bobcats played the Pirates, Ball told Odom that he would be watching him. Ball was back home for his surgery during the game, but he wanted to give Odom some pre-game encouragement.

“He just told me ‘Go out and ball,’” Odom said. “I told him ‘Yes, sir.’ ”

 

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