Ohio cornerback Xavior Motley gives a high-five with a young fan during Ohio University’s homecoming football game against Central Michigan on Saturday. (Austin Janning/WOUB)

Ohio Football: Other Wideouts Tasked With Stepping Up In Ball’s Absence

Posted on:

< < Back to

Unfortunately for senior wide receiver Elijah Ball, 2018 is dejá vu of his junior campaign. A career-ending leg injury, this time early in Fall Camp, has once again left Ohio Football with a big hole at the top of their receiver depth chart.

Ball announced the decision on Twitter and it leaves receivers coach Dwayne Dixon with a big decision to make when it comes to filling that last starting spot. The first two are guaranteed: seniors Andrew Meyer and Papi White make up the first two starters but the third hasn’t been set in stone.

Even without Ball, Meyer and White showed they can be go to options throughout a full campaign in 2017. White led the team last year in yards (631), catches (36), and yards per catch (17.5). Meyer operated as a slot receiver in 2017 and finished third on the squad in yards (483), and tied for second in catches (35). Those two guys are tasked with replacing the only main target not returning, Brendan Cope. The lanky receiver graduated in May and was a big key to the Bobcats ability to stretch the field.

The player many expect to step up and handle the majority of this responsibility is sophomore Cameron Odom. The Bedford, Ohio product was the consensus fourth receiving option on last year’s team. Odom finished his freshman season with 20 catches for 308 yards and finished second on the team with 15.4 YPC.

There are 56 catches up for grabs from last year’s graduating class and Odom is hoping to snag a majority of them.

“We got a lot more young guys this year that look up to me, they ask me what to do on certain plays and ask me how I went through my freshman season.” Odom said after the first scrimmage of 2018, “I definitely feel like I have a bigger role on and off the field this season and I just want to live up to the expectations I have for myself.”

One of the reasons Odom didn’t get every opportunity possible last season was a problem with drops. The young receiver often made the easy catches look hard and the hard catches look easy, something he has really focused on.

“I know I had those drops last year which was a lack of focus on the little things, and it’s really what I emphasized this offseason, focusing on the little things, looking the ball into the tuck more. Definitely getting extra work after practice every day, I really didn’t do a lot of that last year and this year me, Pop (Papi White), and AM (Andrew Meyer) are just getting those extra catches in more.”

Odom has the work ethic, and experience, to make some noise this season, now he just needs that extra bit of rapport with Nathan Rourke to bring it all together.

He’s living in the right place for it.

“He (Nathan Rourke) actually lives in the same complex as me, so we will ride home together and work on getting those connections, what he wants out of me, what kind of balls I want him to throw to me. Us having that chemistry will go a long way this season.”