Hurricane Katrina was easily one of the worst natural disaster the United States has ever experienced. For those living in Iowa, it is hard to imagine the dificult times in placed on everyone in New Orleans and its surrounding area.
One community affected was Slidell, Louisana; the home of wide receiver/defensive back prospect Lance Tillison (6'1 190 4.5). A student at Salema High School, Tillison was forced to move to another high school this fall due to the tragedy.
Perhaps to the luck of the Iowa Hawkeyes, Tillison made the move to Seffner, Florida to attend Armwood High School. Head Coach Sean Callahan has been good to the Hawkeye programs in the players he has sent north, and it appears Tillison might be next in line.
"Lance moved here after our first game," said Callahan. "Then, it took two weeks to get him eligible, and he was going to be ready to play in game four. During our walkthrough before the game, Tillison had a very unfortunate accident occur as he broke his foot. He was placed into a cast until game #10 this fall, and even when it came off, it took three weeks for the pain to be removed. Lance's first game wasn't actually until two weeks ago."
Fortunately for Tillison, he joined a great program in Armwood who will play in the Florida Class 4A State Final this weekend. That, of course, means they had to compete in a lot of games this fall, which kept the door open for Tillison to get some action and prove his abilities.
"Our main wide receiver actually went down in week ten due to injury so it was great to have Lance coming back. He would have played defense, too, earlier in the season, but we had him only concentrate at wide receiver with everything that happened. His first game he did well, but it was our last game where he really had a big game and made a difference. He played that well not even being in football shape, and when he actually returns to that type of shape, he can be special," stated Callahan.
Callahan, of course, is a dear friend to the Hawkeye coaching staff after sending the likes of Antwan Allen, Chris Brevi, and Kalvin Bailey to the program in recent years. That has led to a close relationship between he and Hawkeye assistant Phil Parker, who recruits the Tampa area.
It was earlier this fall that Callahan had informed Parker of the transfer (Tillison) he was receiving, but only recently that Parker took the time to evaluate Tillison, and apparently he liked what he had seen.
"Coach Parker came to one of our practices after week ten when Tillison had just had his cast removed, and really liked what he saw. He has been impressed enough with what he has seen in Lance in such limited action that he is stopping by the high school on Wednesday. He has already set an official visit with Lance to have him make an official visit up there on December 16th," stated Callahan.
As to what position Tillison could play on the next level, Coach Callahan responded he could play on either side of the ball, but that personally, he has not seen enough to to know how well Tillison tackles.
However, he has seen enough to know Tillison is a guy he would recruit.
"Our team isn't going to normally just treat some new guy that walks in very easily with all their hard work in the off-season, and of course, I had a couple guys come up to me wanting to make sure Lance wasn't going to get some free ride," continued Callahan. "Lance came in right away and grabbed everyone's respect with how he carries himself and the work that he puts in. He is a guy that everyone on the team is drawn to. He would stand out in the heat with his crutches at practice everyday, and the best part is that he is a very good student."
For now, though, Tillison will make his first official visit to Iowa on the 16th, and he could be on his way to receiving an offer. After that, he may just be the fourth Armwood prospect to join Kirk Ferentz's program since he arrived at Iowa.