Huge OL Prospect To Take Final Visit To AU

The Tigers are going to have a talented visitor in for the Iron Bowl that almost no one expected.

Columbus, Ohio—-Franklin Heights offensive coordinator Jeremy Beckham, who was the offensive coordinator at Springfield South High last season, has gotten the chance to coach 6-5, 310 offensive line prospect Lee Tilley, who played at Springfield South the previous three seasons, again this year despite making the move to a new school.

"Well, there were some levy problems at Springfield South and they weren't sure they were going to have athletics and there were some other things going on," Beckham explains about why he made the move. "I had gotten a job at Franklin Heights in Columbus. A friend of mine had gotten the head coaching job and he offered me a position once he learned what was going on at South.

"Once I was over here there were some other issues that were going on at South with Lee and some of the new coaches," he adds about how Tilley made his way to Franklin Heights. "His mom wasn't comfortable and decided to move to Columbus, and found out through word of mouth where I was coaching at and thought it would be a good idea to send her son to Franklin Heights. It was an academic move and it turned out to be the best thing for him. He has gotten a 20 on his ACT and he is on the honor roll now."

With the close connection the two have built over the past four years, Beckham has been helping Tilley sort through the tough and sometimes tedious recruiting process and says that the four-star recruit and 16th-ranked offensive lineman in the country has decided that he wants to take his last official visit to Auburn for the Iron Bowl.

He adds that the final details for the trip are currently in the works and also notes, that even though the big lineman was focusing on other colleges for his final trip for some time, he never took the Tigers out of the running.

Lee has always been thinking about Auburn," Beckham explains. "I think part of it was that he got to see Auburn this summer and he got a good feel for it and really came away thinking that this is a good place. It was a small area and seemed like a really close-knit school, and obviously has some of the best fans in the country. They are very passionate about their school.

"He felt like he got a real good feel about Auburn, got a real good feel about the coaches," he continues. "Lee liked coach (Hugh) Nall a lot just because of all of his experience and him being one of the top offensive line coaches in the nation. Also, being able to see what he has done with a guy like Marcus McNeill and some of the other players. I think Lee envisions himself, down the road, having the opportunity to be like a Marcus McNeill, possibly being under coach Nall if it all works out on the visit and all of that stuff."

Lee Tilley has already visited Oklahoma, Arizona State, LSU and South Carolina officially, and plans to graduate in December and will be able to enroll in college in January.

Along with the tough task of trying to sort out the recruiting process, Beckham also notes that Tilley has also had to work hard to learn an entirely new type of football during his senior season.

"Well, being at a new high school now has been quite a change considering we have gone from a wide open spread team that threw the ball most of the time to lining up under center and running a triple option attack similar to what Georgia Southern runs," he says. "It has been the antithesis of what he has done essentially. It has been an eye opener for him because it is just different techniques that he has had to learn."

However, Beckham adds that even though it was a tough task, the big lineman handled the transition very well and should be a better player because of it.

"I think that he has done a pretty good job of picking that up considering he doesn't have a lot of football experience, and then to get this thrown at him I think it has really prepped him for college," he says. "Wherever he goes is going to be somewhere in between. They are not going to throw the ball every down and they are not going to run the ball every down, but he will still have exposure to the two extremes when it comes to getting ready for college.

"He came two days before our first game," he adds about how quick Tilley had to make the transition. "He was learning on the run. Obviously, his grades weren't as good the first couple of weeks, but I don't even know if he knew all of his plays. We started out and I think the first game--he learned 1/2 to 2/3 of the offense two days before the game. He is a sharp kid and he picked up on them pretty quickly and I think as the season went on he was working on learning all of the nuances and all of those things."

Even with a ton to learn and a short time to do it, Beckham says that when all of the plays for the year averaged out Tilley performed at a very high level. "I think he got a 98 or 99 percent," he says about his overall grade on his blocking assignments for the season.

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