TILLEY CUTS DOWN HIS LIST TO 12

With 36 college scholarship offers in hand, Springfield South offensive linemen Lee Tilley has cut the number of schools he's looking at to twelve. What schools made the cut? Bearcat Insider has the latest and also ask some hard questions.

When talking national offensive line recruits, one of the top prospects that's seen the most attention is Springfield South's Lee Tilley. Tilley, who now holds 36 total scholarship offers, has narrowed that list down to 12 schools that he's going to be taking hard looks at.

But while Lee has worked down his offer list, there are still many out there who have been asking questions about the left tackle prospect that's caught the eyes of so many college coaches. We have the 12 schools and an interview we conducted with Lee, his mother and one of his assistant coaches.

The twelve schools that are still in consideration for Lee Tilley are as follows.

SCHOOLS ON LIST

GEORGIA

LSU

AUBURN

NC STATE

ARIZONA STATE

CLEMSON

FLORIDA

WASHINGTON

OKLAHOMA

SOUTH CAROLINA

CINCINNATI

VIRGINIA TECH

While the above list is an impressive one, one local school is missing and has many asking questions why. With Columbus, Ohio only being a short drive from Springfield, many felt the Buckeyes would be all over Tilley as his stock rose. But with several early offers to linemen in the Class of 2006, Lee Tilley was passed over and other national program seized the chance to get in on the man-child. In talking with Lee, he had the following to say about not having an Ohio State offer.

"While Ohio State interested me early on, they didn't have me in for any of their junior days so I felt they had no interest in me. I know Ohio has a lot of top offensive linemen in my class and Ohio State can't offer all of us. I'm not upset about not getting an offer from them. I have a great list of Top 25 schools that have offered me and I'm just happy to be in the position I'm in."

While many message boards are blazing about Tilley not being offered, one person who's not worried about her son not being offered is Larnell Tilley, Lee's mother.

"As a concerned parent I want to place my child in an environment that will enrich him on and off the field. With some of the recent problems at Ohio State, like players being involved with drugs and other crimes, I question the stability of the program as a whole. While I know one coach can't be a babysitter for a hundred players, I do believe it reflects poorly against the program and the type of student athlete they recruit. At this time, even if Ohio State would offer my son a scholarship I don't believe I would be in favor of him choosing them unless I felt 100% positive these off field problems were being resolved."

While the question is still out there why Lee Tilley hasn't received an OSU offer, many feel it's about academics while other feel his weight is an issue. As for his weight, Lee told us the following.

"What people don't know is that I got injured in week nine of this season. I missed a whole week of practice but played in the Xenia game in week ten. After that game I wasn't able to do anything strenuous and had to limit the amount of time I spent on my feet. Because of this my weight went from around 295 pounds, up to over 320 pounds. It wasn't until about 10 days before the U.S. Army combine that I started doing anything again. I almost didn't go to San Antonio, but wanted to see what it was like and what type of players were there from around the country. Even though I wasn't 100% I felt I held my own down there, but came back knowing I could do better than what I did."

When asked about his grades, Lee said he wasn't sure what his GPA was at this time and referred to South assistant coach Jeremy Beckham about the subject. Coach Beckham had the following to say about Lee's academic standing.

"There's been a misunderstanding that Lee has been in academic trouble. This couldn't be farther from the truth. While Lee's not an honor roll student, he should have no problem being fully qualified and in fact is looking at an early graduation next December."

On the subject of Lee not receiving an OSU offer, Coach Beckham said the following.

"I can't understand why Lee hasn't received an offer from Ohio State since we've been told by many coaches across the country that Lee is one of the best offensive line prospects in the country. While I have a lot of respect for Coach Tressel and his staff, I feel they misevaluated Lee early on and figured they could sit on him and make an offer later in the process not knowing that Lee was going to get the kind of attention he's received from across the country."

When asked if he was holding out hope of receiving an Ohio State offer, Lee stressed that he's fine with the offers he's received and is only looking at those schools he holds offers from in making his decision.

"At this time my family and I have made up our mind that the recruiting process is a very hard one. We've looked at all the different schools that have offered and will be making the choice based only on those schools. If Ohio State would offer I would be honored, but were now in the process of making the list of twelve schools a list of only one. Even with twelve schools this is going to be a hard choice to make. We're now working on setting up visits down south with all the schools down there. I would also like to visit Oklahoma, Arizona State and Washington this summer but may need to wait and take official visits to these three schools. But most of all I want to see the campus of all twelve schools and learn more about their programs on and off the field."

The one surprise team that made the final twelve list is the University of Cincinnati. When asked what made the Bearcats one of his top choices, Lee had the following to say.

"They were a school I had interest in before I became a top recruit. They were one of my first offers and I've made three visits to the campus so far. I was there for their Junior Day when the basketball team played Xavier and I really liked it. I also went down during spring practice and got to see how Coach Dantonio and the offensive tackles coach, Coach Staten were in action. I came away very impressed with how the players were coached and treated when there. You could see the coaches have the best interest in their players on and off the field. Also Coach Dantonio came to school to see my coaches and that proved he's got a real interest in me being part of his team."

While I didn't expect to get Lee's final twelve list when I set up this interview, I'm very impressed that he's looking at more than just football when making his decision. I enjoyed speaking with his mother who's making sure she puts her son in the right program to help him succeed on and off the field of play. She stressed that while Lee will be playing football, it's a college education that she wants to see more than anything else.


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