By Otis Kirk
SPRINGDALE — Shiloh Christian Class of 2023 linebacker JT Odom is one of the upperclassmen on the Saints this season and his leadership will be needed by head coach Jeff Conaway.
Odom, 6-2, 220, who is the son of Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom, and the Saints are participating in the Southwest Elite 7on7. Odom has one more season with Shiloh Christian before heading to the Razorbacks as a preferred walk on. He feels the 7on7 tournaments are helping the team.
“7on7 is great on making a camaraderie of our team,” Odom said. “We go out here, it’s a 100-something degrees, and we play all these teams and it’s high reps for everyone. It’s just great to build on both offensive and defensive skills. Just kind of getting down the details before we go into the main season.”
Shiloh Christian is coming off a 13-2 season in 2021 that saw them be state runner-up. But several members of that team are no longer in high school.
“We have a very small senior class,” Odom said. “But it doesn’t really matter on Shiloh if you are a senior or freshman. Everyone is sort of together. We have sophomores getting first-team reps. It’s really awesome for them.”
In 2021, Odom finished with 25 tackles, 13 solo, one for loss and a quarterback hurry. Odom admits his father has been a big influence on both he and Garyt, his younger brother.
“My dad has helped Garyt and I both be prepared for the recruiting world,” Odom said. “He helped us get a little bit of a jump ahead communicating with coaches and things like that. He has been awesome for that and I’m thankful he’s in the position he is in so we can excel once we’ve reached that next step.”
While Barry Odom is coaching the secondary in addition to his coordinator duties at Arkansas he has a wealth of knowledge at linebacker something that JT says has helped him.
“Yes, definitely, dad played linebacker at the University of Missouri,” Odom said. “He excelled at that position and every day it’s something new about that position. He does give tips and it’s very helpful to have him by my side.”
Odom will play for Mike Scherer and his father at Arkansas beginning in 2023.
“I have a preferred walk-on from the University of Arkansas that I’ve accepted at this point,” Odom said. “I recently visited the Air Force Academy. I did their football camp out there and it’s a really awesome place.”
The Saints were undefeated in Day 1 of the Southwest Elite 7on7 and defeated Harding Academy in Friday’s first game.