Thomas Odukoya's name was announced on the 2019 John Mackey Award Preseason watch list on July 19, 2019. 60 players are on the watch list for the college football's most outstanding tight end.
Odukoya stands 6'6" and weighs 264 pounds. The preseason All-MAC teams by Phil Steele's College Football Preview has Odukoya on the second team. EMU had 11 players in total that made the four teams from the magazine's preseason list.
He will be playing his second year for Eastern Michigan. Odukoya previously played at Garden City Community College and West Hills College Coalinga. Odukoya is from Almere, Netherlands, and won a Dutch National MVP award in high school. He is one of five football players on the roster from outside of the United States.
Jake Julien and Sidy Sow are from Canada, while Yannik Rohrschneider is from Germany and Steve Nielsen is from Denmark.
Odukoya played in eight games in 2018 and did not record any receiving stats. Sophomore Gunnar Oakes caught the most passes out of EMU tight ends in 2018 with 11. He scored one touchdown and had 143 yards in the 11 games and three starts last season.
Cody Tuttle in 2016 was the last Eagle to be named to the award's preseason watch list. Giovanni Ricci from Western Michigan and Andrew Homer from Miami were the two other players from the MAC named to the watch list.
The award has had several recipients go on to make the NFL Pro Bowl and win Super Bowl championships. Names include Dallas Clark, Kellen Winslow II, Dwayne Allen and Marcedes Lewis. The 2018 recipient was T.J. Hockenson, who is now a rookie tight end for the Detroit Lions. Former University of Michigan tight end Jake Butt won the award in 2016 and is now on the Denver Broncos.