Tilley planned to join running back Ben Tate from Maryland as an early high school graduate who enrolled at Auburn in January in time to participate in winter workouts and spring practice.
Tate made the trip to Auburn and put together an impressive spring, setting himself up for potential playing time this fall, even though the Tigers have plenty of depth at tailback.
Tilley originally had high hopes of using spring training to make a move at breaking into the playing rotation as a true freshman this fall. Now his goals for his freshman year are more modest.
"The important thing for me this year is just to survive," the big tackle tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I don't want to be one of those players who gets hurt or gets discouraged and heads home as a freshman. I am in this for the long run."
Tilley, whose high school coaches noted that he trained extremely hard year-around, decided to use his down time in the spring to do something different.
He thought about taking some classes at a local community college in Columbus, but decided to take a break from that. He worked out, but probably not at the intensity level he would have been doing if he had been on campus in strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall's workouts earlier this year.
"I am going to be going at it full speed for the next four years at Auburn and I don't plan to relax during that time," he says. "I decided it would be my last time to do that for a while so that is what I did at home in the spring."
Now that he is on campus and enrolled in summer school, he is working his way into the campus scene. He is taking classes and doing conditioning work with his new teammates.
"We are doing a lot of running," he says. "We do a lot more running than I did in high school."
Tilley says he currently checks in at 320 pounds and says he measures six-foot-six. He hopes to shed some of that weight working out with Yoxall and his staff.
"I want to drop around 10 or 20 pounds to improve my quickness," he says. "I hope to be about 300 for the start of the season."
Tilley says he is still trying to decide what his college major will be. "I am thinking communications or business, but that isn't set in stone," he says.
Considered one of the top offensive line prospects in the country last year, Tilley announced in November that he would sign with the Tigers, picking Auburn over 34 other schools. His finalist group included South Carolina, Oklahoma, Florida, Arizona State and LSU.
He says that he has been able to meet a large number of his new teammates and is looking forward to getting to know them this summer as the Tigers prepare for their Sept. 2nd season opener vs. Washington State.