While everyone is excited about tonight's big game with Miami, it's the excitement off the field Bearcat fans should also be looking at. Coach Mark Dantoino and his staff have left no stone unturned during the past few months as they recruit the Class of 2006.
Having offered highly rated and profiled players like Aaron Brown, Lee Tilley, Jake Ballard, Tyler Moeller to name a few, the Bearcats staff has made it a point to fight with in state powers Ohio State and other national powers Michigan, Iowa, Oklahoma to name a few.
While many who follow recruiting fail to mention the interest these players have with UC, it should be noted the Moeller had very high interest in staying home in Cincinnati before giving his verbal to Ohio State.
But when things started to look as if the Bearcats could be left out in the cold with these national players, one player is still showing very high interest in Cincinnati.
Lee Tilley has visited UC on several occasions. The big (6'7 - 310 lb.) offensive linemen from Franklin Heights (Columbus, OH) has shown he's not your regular football prospect. Know for walking his own path, Tilley has proven he doesn't always do what people think he will do.
When trouble arose at his former school Springfield South (Ohio), Tilley wasted little time in telling his mother things weren't right. With the school changing coaches just before the season started, Larnell Tilley didn't sit back and allow the new coaching staff to use her son. She and her family moved to Columbus and enrolled Lee into a new school.
While the move made many wonder what Tilley was thinking, Lee proved he's his own man and fit right in with his new teammates and coaches.
As the Bearcats received news of Lee's move, they made sure they expressed a great desire in Tilley being part of the Bearcats family.
Two weeks ago Coach Dan Roushar (Offensive Line) was seen in Columbus watching Tilley play. In talks with Lee, he informed Bearcat Insider he played well when Coach Roushar came to see him play. Lee also said he's hearing from Coach Staten on a regular basis since his recruiting started after making a visit during last winters Junior Day.
So how interested is Lee Tilley in the Bearcats? One needs to only look at a recent article done by OUInsider.com and find out. When asked about schools he's still considering, Lee stated the following.
This should give Bearcat fans something to think about when looking at the job Coach Dantonio and his staff is doing in the area of recruiting. The staff could have very easy done what previous coaches have done and not even recruit the players listed at the start of this story. Instead, they know they are a program on the rise with many things to offer any player no matter how highly rated he may be. And from what were hearing these players like what the staff is saying and showing them about the University of Cincinnati.
Who will be the first "Big Time" recruit during the Coach Dantonio era? What year will the Bearcats sign their first "Big Time" prospect? We don't know yet, but it just could happen this year and Lee Tilley may be the player.