Tilley Still Looking For What Is "Missing"

Offensive line prospect Lee Tilley talks about why he decided to use his fifth and final offical visit to check out the AU program for a second time.

Columbus, Ohio--Throughout the year Lee Tilley has made official and unofficial visits to a large number of college campuses trying to find a place to call home for the next few years.

However, he explains that the process of trying to decide on a place to live, get your education and work hard on the football field is not nearly as simple as a lot of people make it out to be.

"Everybody says that you'll just know, I am like, ‘you'll just know, this isn't a marriage here,'" he says. "It's not like, ‘that girl is like awww, I love you, I wanna marry you.' This is a business decision. Where am I going to go to get the most for my four years. I am getting my life for four years of education and I am going to look for the best possible situation that I can."

During the process the 6-5, 310-pound lineman also had to move to a new school, learn a whole new type of offense on the football field and work hard all semester in the classroom, which he says made it even more difficult to keep his thoughts together on which colleges he was really interested in.

"During the season I was trying to keep my grades up, concentrate on the move and stuff like that," Tilley explains. "I made the honor roll with a 3.3. I was trying to look at schools like, ‘is that a school I think I really want to go to?' I was knocking schools out trying to get my official visits set. I got my four official visits set and I was like, ‘alright, that fifth one is out there.'"

With only one official visit remaining, the big lineman says that he still felt like he was waiting to find something special. "I enjoyed all of my official visits equally, but I was thinking I'm missing something, I'm missing something," he notes. "I kept thinking about what school am I missing, ‘Florida, am I missing anything there, no. LSU, ehhh.' So, I was like, ‘Let me go back and see Auburn.' That is when I set my official visit to Auburn."

He adds that there were a number of things about the Tigers' program that made it stand out when it came time to tack down a final visit. "I like the coaching staff a lot," he says. "Auburn, I have seen that they lost a lot of players to the draft, high profile players and they are still competing at the level they were competing at. Oklahoma lost close to the same number as they did and they are not competing at that high level anymore. They are kind of struggling along and trying to get through the season. Auburn is still fighting through and still doing great things and I am like, ‘that is a great program.' Also, the people there are great—nice campus—beautiful weather.

"If you count Auburn twice I will have seen 17 college campuses," he continues. "After this it is kind of like, just pick. I have seen so much of colleges that it is like, ‘man, these schools look the same, these schools look the same, these schools look the same.' You could throw them into like a bracket, small town, large town, medium and just change the name and it is the same college. Auburn was kind of a little bit different because it was a small town, but big football. I haven't seen many of them yet."

Tilley adds that for AU to be the college he scheduled for his last official visit they have to be near the top of his list of favorites, especially since he has already checked out the AU program on an unofficial visit.

"They are pretty high," he says. "They are my last visit. They are high. They are the only school I am coming back to see. With everybody else I was kind of like, ‘If I have seen you once I am going to go see somebody else since I am not missing anything.' You know how that goes, ‘I am going to so and so and so and so to make sure that I am not missing anything,' because if I miss something I am going to be mad.

"Say I went to Auburn or Georgia or Clemson or wherever and I took one visit and was like, ‘alright I am going there,'" Tilley continues. "Then, I don't like it there and I wish I would have taken all of my other visits to see what I had missed. I have seen a lot of college campuses and Auburn would probably be one or two."

Lee Tilley is rated as the 16th best offensive line prosepct in the country.

Tilley says that the move he made from Springfield South High to Franklin Heights High was a big step in improving his ability and knowledge of the game of football heading to the college level.

"The move was great," he notes. "I miss all of my old friends at my old school. They were all great people. Up here, the new offense, I think it really prepared me for college and it really helped me a lot because we did a lot of run blocking, some veer and stuff like that. It was about 75 percent run and I was used to seeing about 95 percent pass so I think that really helped me a lot.

"Some players come in with just a pass offense, like I would have, and my run blocking is not at as high a level as I think it should be, but now I have been working on it a lot this season and I think that I have improved greatly," he adds. "I think it has just helped me overall to become a more complete player."

Along with playing well on the field, Tilley has also been strong in the classroom at Franklin Heights and is hoping that he, his family and his coaches can cut through some red tape so he can still graduate in December as planned.

"We are working on it and trying to get that done," he notes. "Academically, I am fine, clearinghouse, I am fine. I am fine everywhere else, but right now the district won't allow it and we are trying to work with them and try to get an exemption because I am a special case, and we are more than likely going to get that."

With his final high school football season in the books, the big athlete says he has decided to try a new sport to keep him busy until graduation. "In the meantime, I am wrestling to work on my agility," he notes. "It is the first year I wrestled. Last year I played basketball. I am just kind of bouncing around, seeing what else I like."

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