By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Friday night, Indianapolis Colts rookie George Odum walked back onto the turf of Mooney Bosewell Field under the lights for the first time since 2012, his senior year.
Odum was greeted by Millington Central High School Principal Dr. Clint Durley and Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Beth Hale holding his old No. 5 jersey. The same jersey Odum wore while setting high defensive standards, playing some receiver and returning kicks was now in a large golden frame ready to hang in the halls forever.
As the crowd cheered his stats read by public address announcer Mark Healy, Odum was overcome by humility.
“It’s a great feeling looking back on it -— I wish I could have done a little bit more,” Odum acknowledged. “Looking at it now with me being on an NFL team, I could have studied more in college. Watching stuff on my opponent and stuff like that. I could have done better in school. I look at it now and I can see why I should have done better.
“In the NFL, the speed of the game is way faster,” he added. “The tempo and all the players are faster, I could have done that in college to maybe be a better player.”
Odum’s college days were spent at Central Arkansas playing for the Bears. Major colleges passed on Odum because he was labeled an undersize linebacker and oversized defensive back. Central Arkansas signed the Millington talent and Odum earned a spot in the secondary of the Bears as a freshman beginning a decorated career. The 6’2 athlete was named to the Southland Conference first team in 2016. Odum was the Southland’s 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.
When he attended MCHS, Odum was a two-sport standout in football and track. Before Odum graduated in 2013, he ran in the Class 3A State Track meet two years in a row. He still has the school record in the 100m.
On the gridiron, he was a combination of speed and strength racking up several awards and honors. Odum was named to the 2012 Tennessee vs. Kentucky National Guard All-Star Game and 2012 AutoZone Liberty Bowl All-Star Game.
“What got me here tonight?” Odum asked rhetorically. “I wouldn’t say I was known by everybody. But me spending time just trying to push myself, I just love to compete. I hate losing it could be a foot race, basketball or ping pong, I just hate losing. It’s my competitiveness.”
Back on National Signing Day 2013, Odum told The Millington Star he wanted to get his jersey retired at MCHS. The Trojan standard is a player participating in a sport with a professional league must reach that level.
Tony Dumas is the only Trojan Basketball player with the honor. Jasmine Newsome playing in Europe earned her a jersey retirement for Lady Trojan Basketball.
In football the No. 29 and No. 87 will never be worn again in honor of the brave sacrifice from Mario Reed and the late Dana Payne. Trojan gridiron greats to have their jersey retired are Marlon Barnes, Tyrone Calico, Ahmaad Galloway, Alan Cross and now George Odum.
“It’s a dream of mind to be in the NFL for the longest,” Odum said. “At the same time I didn’t truly think I would make it. As a kid I played for the Grandview Raiders and Frayser. The Raiders have been my team since growing up. And I just played them last week in Cali. We just beat them.”
Living his dream, Odum wears the Colts’ No. 30 with pride. But he said having his No. 5 uniform retired by his school is another dream come true.
“It’s amazing here on my old stomping grounds,” he concluded. “I’m one of the few and that’s all that matters.”