After taking an official visit to Auburn over the weekend for the Iron Bowl contest against Alabama, Tilley says that he has no doubts about his destination.
Tilley says he picked the Tigers over another SEC program, the South Carolina Gamecocks.
"It was a combination of things really," Tilley says of his college choice. "I want to win. I mean I could go to a lesser school and play early and make a difference, but I want to win and become a better player. I have thought about being away from home and being alone, so comfort was an important factor."
A 6-6, 320 bruiser who excels at the point of attack for Franklin Heights High, Tilley took official visits to Oklahoma, Arizona State, LSU and South Carolina before his final trip to Auburn over the weekend. He says that he already had his mind made up about the Tigers before the trip, but the visit sealed it for him.
Auburn junior guard Timmy Duckworth was the player host for Tilley on his visit as Auburn physically manhandled Alabama on Saturday. Tilley says that he enjoyed seeing the Tigers take it to their rival and that's another reason why he feels good about his decision.
Tilley says he also likes the way Auburn's coaches handled his recruiting. "Most of them said they have weaknesses on their offensive line and I could come in and play right away, that I'm better than some of the guys they have. I was like 'damn," are these coaches going to be flying around the country in a few years telling recruits that Lee Tilley sucks so they go there? Auburn never talked bad about their players and they made no promises."
The official visit to Auburn over the weekend was his second trip there this year. He stopped in Auburn over the summer on a tour of college campuses as he began to narrow his choices.
There was a lot more activity on campus this time with nearly 90,000 fans crammed into Jordan-Hare Stadium and others around the town and campus trying to secure tickets to the big game.
Tilley says hearing countless Auburn football fans yelling "War Eagle," the university's battle cry, was a memorable part of the weekend experience.
"I knew what it was, but everyone was screaming it," he says. "I was a little worried because I was wearing a red shirt (Alabama's color) and I didn't even think about it. I figured we'd have some time to go back to our rooms before the game and chill, maybe change clothes, but we didn't. We went through the 'Tiger Walk' and then to the game. The atmosphere was just crazy.
"I was chilling out on the sidelines watching warmups and then I got a chance to talk to Ben Tate, their running back commit. I told him I was probably going to go there and I'd be blocking for him. I got to ask him about why he chose Auburn so that was insightful."
Tilley is expected to play offensive tackle for the Tigers, who are making offensive line recruits a priority for the 2006 signee class.
Tilley, who hopes to graduate high school in time to enroll at Auburn in January, is ranked as a four star lineman and is listed as the No. 22 rated offensive lineman in the nation, according to Scout.com.
Tilley notes that he got a thumbs up on his college choice from his mother, Larnell Tilley.
"She always gave me two choices, college or the military, that's what you do in my family," the lineman notes. "I chose college. She researched my finalists and she said you know all those schools will show you what you want to see. I had to weigh out all the distractions and I feel the small town feel that is Auburn is best for me. I also have family in Georgia. It's far enough away, but close enough that I can see them almost anytime."
Tilley says he had more than 35 scholarship offers. Explaining why Auburn stands out, he says, "It was a combination of things really. I want to win. I mean I could go to a lesser school and play early and make a difference, but I want to win and become a better player. I have thought about being away from home and being alone so comfort was an important factor."
Tilley says he likes the excitement of SEC football and the warm weather.
He says the Auburn staff made it clear to him how much they want to sign him. "They came to my school three times. That showed me that I was a priority to them. Out of the 59 visits I had at school, there were three teams that came twice. They were the only ones who came three times."
Tilley becomes Auburn's 14th public commitment for the class of 2006 joining Greg Smith, Bart Eddins, Neil Caudle, Benjamin Tate, Mario Fannin, Steven Ensminger, Hendrick Leverette, Zaccheus Etheridge, Chris Slaughter, Alex Rose, Kareem Crowell, Zach Clayton and Terrell Zachery.