Jamir Tillman is a talented junior wide receiver for Bishop Gorman High School. He visited Illinois for a one-day camp along with a couple teammates including fellow junior Ryan Smith, son of Illini running back coach DeAndre Smith. He enjoys working with Illini receiver coach Paul Petrino.
"I love Coach Petrino. He knows what he's talking about and helps me get better every time I come here."
The 6'-3" athlete made a solid impression at the Illini camp, so it is not surprising how well he did last year.
"I got around 30 catches last year for about 500 yards and 9 touchdowns as a sophomore. I also played free safety."
Bishop Gorman is loaded this year. Senior running back Shaquille Powell, also considering Illinois, had 303 rushing yards in his first game this season. There aren't enough balls to go around for all the talent available, but Tillman is a team player.
"I just try to play my part. My job is to catch the ball when it's thrown to me, and that's what I try to do."
He is working to improve his game.
"I'm trying to work on my speed and my route running. That's the most important part."
Continuous success is expected at defending state champ Bishop Gorman.
"Yeah. We try to put in the hard work, and it's paid off. But it's all about what we can do this year. We have to forget about the past and make strides this year too.
"Our whole receiver corps is pretty solid, and we have a returning quarterback. Our whole offense is pretty much coming back, so we should be good."
There is minimal competition for the team in Nevada. The first game this fall was against Arizona State champion Chaparral from Scottsdale. Tillman sees scheduling as a means of making improvement.
"Every day we try to put in work, and every school helps us to get better. We try to get what we get out of it."
What is he looking for in a school?
"It's history. I want to go to a school that wins and has a good program for me. A place I'll be happy."
College is just beginning to be a topic of focus for Tillman, but that will increase exponentially as the year goes on.
"I've been thinking about plenty of schools and where I'll go to college. As the year goes on, I'll keep thinking about it. I don't have any schools I want to go to right now."