Time sure does fly. One day, you’re transferring into the program; the next, you’re walking out of the tunnel for senior day with your family. Defensive tackle Otitodilinna Odenigbo’s time has been short, relative to the majority of the senior class. That shouldn’t negate the impact the transfer has had on one of the nation’s leading defensive lines. That’s why today, the next edition in of Senior Profile Series concentrates on DT Tito Odenigbo.
Before the U
Growing up in Centerville, Ohio, Odenigbo was already a famous surname before Tito started making noise as a prospect at Centerville High School. Older brother Ifeadi Odenigbo was a touted star coming out of Centerville, making noise as a defensive end for Northwestern. The older Odenigbo would be drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Locally, Tito was just as much an intriguing prospect as his older brother.
With a surge of the snap, the next thing an offensive linemen knew, they were backpedalling to the pocket, as Tito manhandled guards and centers in his high school days. Splitting his time between DE and DT, Odenigbo was a power rusher who used his 6’4”, 240 pound frame to impose his will on opponents. Based on that play, Odenigbo received a fair amount of offers from some of the local programs. Cincinnati, Akron, Illinois and Boston College offered him a scholarship leading up to the 2014 National Signing Day. After attending junior days at Illinois in 2013, Odenigbo committed, sticking with his commitment to continue his family lineage at Illinois. It’s the same institution where Tito’s father earned his engineering degree. The Ohio native with Nigerian roots would sign his letter of intent on the following February to join the Blue and Orange.
After redshirting in 2014, Odenigbo would get his first taste of game action in 2015, serving as a rotational DT. In the six games that he played that season, Odenigbo would tally three tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Odenigbo would get his first career start the following season at ‘The Big House’ in Michigan. Although he did not start another game the rest of the season, the sophomore DT was able to put together his best season with 15 tackles, 2.5 TFL and one sack.
As a junior, Tito would put together a 29 tackle, 4.5 TFL, one sack and two pass breakup season. The numbers were modest, yet not bad considering that in his time as the Fighting Illini, the program had won 16 games over the span of four years. Looking for an opportunity to play for a more competitive squad, as well as see some more playing time, Tito would transfer to UM as a graduate.
Life as a Cane
The departure of three defensive tackles from the 2017 defense left a hole at the position for the Hurricanes. Although Miami brought back Gerald WIllis III and enrolled Nesta Silvera and Jordan Miller, they still needed to provide further depth at the position. Tito Odenigbo was that guy for Miami this season.
Although, the senior DT did not see too many snaps at the beginning of the season, Tito began to earn his way into the DT rotation around the midpoint of the season. Entering the final game of his college career, Odenigbo accounted for 18 tackles and three TFL. While it’s hard to gleam any spotlight when you line up next to Gerald Willis, outside of the mind-numbing penalty late against Virginia, Odenigbo has been a consistent player for the Hurricanes’ defensive line. Still employing his strength to create penetration into the backfield, Tito executes his job to the standard that defensive line coach Jess Simpson expects of him.
For a player who made a living in a culture that has experienced losing seasons since he got into the college, it was refreshing to see such enthusiasm from a guy who was just happy for a change of scenery and to compete for conference title. So today, we take the time to extend our congratulations to Tito Odenigbo for a successful college career.
Salute to Tito!