Football: Cameron Odom and Matt Seymour — friends beyond the field

 

Cam Odom and Matt Seymour doing their handshake after practice in the Walter Fieldhouse on Oct. 9, 2017.

 

Cameron Odom and Matt Seymour stood across each other on the field at Walter Fieldhouse.

They were about to take a photo with their patented handshake.

As they prepared for the handshake, Odom and Seymour put on their helmets and gloves. Seymour rubbed his hands together with glee.

“Ready, set,” Odom said, and then the two met in the middle and crouched, slapping each other’s hand three times. They rose from their crouches and mimicked tossing a football in the air.

And to finish off the shake, they turned in opposite directions and mimicked smacking a home run.

“I feel like I was smiling the whole time,” Odom said with a smile after the photo was taken.

The handshake is meant to represent Odom’s and Seymour’s big-play mentality, hence the home run at the end. But the ritual means more than just making big plays on the football field.

For Odom and Seymour, both wide receivers, the handshake represents their bond. Since coming to Ohio together in spring 2016 as early enrollees, Odom and Seymour have cultivated a friendship that extends beyond the football field.

“They laugh at each other’s jokes when they’re not funny,” said Bryan Long Jr., a fellow wide receiver. “It’s like they’re playing tag out here sometimes, they’re always chasing each other. Not listening to (wide receivers) coach (Dwayne) Dixon sometimes. But overall, they probably have one of the more special bonds on the team.”

When Odom and Seymour started rooming together, one of the first things Odom noticed about Seymour was that he tended to save a lot of food.

“I thought that was the weirdest thing ever,” Odom said. “He’ll buy a pizza and then wait, and it will sit, and he’ll still grab it and eat it.”

Though Odom found Seymour’s tendency to save food odd, Seymour had some first impressions of Odom as well.

“He’s a clean freak,” Seymour said. “Which is good, so the room’s always clean.”

Odom and Seymour, who are both juniors academically, are roommates off campus. They have been since last year, when they lived in Luchs Hall. But when they came onto campus in 2016, they weren’t roommates. They were supposed to be together, but a mix-up happened, and Seymour lived in Boyd Hall; Odom lived in Sargent Hall.

After Odom and Seymour finished spring football, they roomed together in Brown Hall during the summer before the 2016-17 academic year.

Aside from Odom being a clean freak and Seymour saving food for later, the two don’t have significantly different personalities.

They’re both good students. Odom studies sport management, and Seymour studies history pre-law along with sports administration. Both want to venture into business after graduation. Odom said that Seymour, who is from New Westminster, British Columbia, wants to go to law school. He said that Seymour also strives to be the NFL commissioner one day.

Both players are devoted to their studies, but they still find time to battle each other in video games such as Madden and NBA 2K. Seymour proclaims to be better at Madden.

“I beat him all the time in Madden,” Seymour said. “He ain’t gonna agree with that, but I beat him all the time in Madden.”

Seymour acknowledged that Odom is better than him at 2K, but Odom wasn’t ready to accept Seymour’s stance.

“I definitely am the best in 2K,” Odom said. “I wouldn’t even say he’s the best in Madden. He just uses this one play that I cannot stop. He’s the type of person that if he has something, he won’t go into any different formation. He’ll just run the same play.”

Odom and Seymour have a bond off the field, which makes their bond on the field easier. Odom is a starter, but Seymour isn’t. Still, the two have too much respect for each other.

They aren’t going to let playing time divide them.

“They understand that they compete with themselves,” Dixon said.

Dixon said that Seymour has a chance to receive opportunities. Injuries are unfortunate, but they happen. Seymour just has to be prepared if he is presented with an opportunity to play.

Though Seymour hasn’t received as much playing time as Odom, when Odom comes off the field, Seymour asks him what the defense looked like. They bounce ideas off each other.

That respect they have for each other comes from off the field, when the fact that they’re both wide receivers doesn’t matter much. Their friendship was created because of football, but it doesn’t revolve around football.

“I think why they clicked so well is because their personality is very similar,” said Latonia Odom, Cameron’s mother.

When Thanksgiving rolled around last year, Cameron didn’t want Seymour to be alone in Athens.

Seymour can’t go home much because he lives in Canada, so Cameron invited him to his house in Bedford to have dinner.

When Seymour came to the Odom house, Odom’s family treated Seymour as if he were part of the family. Seymour is appreciative of how the Odom family has accepted him.

“They’ve been great help, and they’ve been great in loving me, letting me come over,” Seymour said. “So it’s been a blessing for that.”

Seymour has gone up to Bedford during the summer, too, and Cameron’s parents, who also have a daughter, view him as their second son.

“We liked Matt from the start,” said Carlin Odom, Cameron’s father. “Our family took to him. Not only our immediate family, but our extended family. He goes to the cookouts and stuff at my brother-in-law’s house. My mother-in-law loves him.”

By May 2019, which is Odom’s and Seymour’s expected graduation date, the Odom family will have two sons who are college graduates – and both would have played Division I football.

The two’s graduation is inevitable, and when it happens, it’ll be a bittersweet moment. The memories of playing Madden and NBA 2K. The time when a talking fire alarm startled them out of their sleep in Brown Hall.

All those memories will have been in the past, but the future is still waiting.

“We always harp on the good times we’ve had because we made so many memories the first semester we were here,” Odom said. “And we still got a long ways to go.”

 

 

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