In fairness, losing a 6-foot-7 tight end that was useful in the passing game is hard for any team to rebound from. But the loss of Nigel Kilby was really noticeable at Eastern Michigan last season.
After joining the squad in 2015 and sitting out with a redshirt, Kilby’s freshman season in 2016 showed a lot of potential for years to come with the tight end’s presence. in his first playing year with the Eagles, Kilby caught 34 passes for 437 yards and got in the end zone four times.
From there, Kilby left. He went the junior college route by transferring to Garden City C.C. where he earned a three-star rating and one of the top tight ends in JUCO. From there, he committed to Central Florida, then Louisville, but by the looks of his Twitter bio, it looks like Kilby will be with Southern Illinois this year.
All the while, EMU really missed having Kilby on the field. It didn’t help that senior tight end Dan Buschman missed a lot of the season with an injury of his own, Bryce Kemp played some tight end but caught only six passes. All together, 11 total passes were caught by EMU tight ends last year, which is by far the fewest during the Chris Creighton era.
|Season||Total receptions||Rec. by TE|
This year, there are four tight ends on the EMU roster with Kemp coming back with the most experience with the team.
Also to suit up for EMU at tight end this year:
- Thomas Odukoya — Odukoya is a 6-foot-6, 260 pound tight end from the Netherlands that EMU was able to get to transfer from Garden City C.C. of all places. While Kilby was an All-American with the Broncbusters with his 43 receptions and 10 touchdowns, Odukoya played in five games but caught zero passes during his JUCO career.
- Tre’Shown Fields — Fields transferred from Grand Rapids C.C. in 2015 and didn’t see the field until last year. The redshirt-junior has yet to put up any stats as an Eagle.
- Gunnar Oakes — Out of high school, Oakes signed with EMU as a part of the 2017 signing class with a two-star rating. Oakes sat out last year with a redshirt.