ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Just a few short years ago, Logan Tuley-Tillman's future remained unclear, similar to the opening shot of the common camera technique called a ‘rack focus.' As seasons changed, so too did Tuley-Tillman's potential out from a rough neighborhood in Peoria, Illinois, with academic and athletic offerings from all over the country that slowly turned a blurry combination of colors into a portrait.
A maize and blue portrait.
Just days prior to Tuley-Tillman leaving his hometown in order to kick start his college football career by enrolling at the University of Michigan mid-semester, the mammoth figure ventured down to Florida to compete in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game Friday afternoon --- a game he'll never forget.
"I felt good," Tuley-Tillman told GoBlueWolverine. "Just coming from the hood of Peoria, Illinois, having nothing and being an average, at best, basketball player and then being on this national stage is just a blessing. I relished this opportunity to be out here because just a few years ago I didn't know what I was going to do."
Playing left tackle for the white team, otherwise know as team "Nitro," Tuley-Tillman acquitted himself well rotating in and out throughout the game. The biggest highlight of the night came when Tuley-Tillman matched up with No. 1 ranked defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, and ended up on the better end of the heavy weight battle.
"I kicked twice and he tried to come inside and I stepped up and pancaked him in the pocket," said Tuley-Tillman. "Well, outside of the pocket."
Not only did the game itself provide some invaluable experiences for Tuley-Tillman, the entire practice week in Orlando allowed for some individual coaching the Manual high school star normally isn't privy to.
"The week I had, it was different because we come from a high school that was 0 and 9," said Tuley-Tillman. "Not having that high level coaching and being able to be taught how to block, when to block, when to punch and when to do this and that. It was rough and I lost some reps."
"It was one-on-one pass protection, which is like standing under the rim saying don't jump, but don't get dunked on. But it got me better and I appreciate the coaches taking the time to break stuff down one-on-one with me."
Tuley-Tillman, headed home for a few hours Saturday before quickly making the drive northeast towards Ann Arbor, is more than ready to move in with fellow offensive lineman Kyle Bosch at noon on Sunday, and eager to compete.
"I feel as though when I do get to Michigan, which I start Sunday, and get some coaching, I'll have a long way to go, but I'll be okay once I arrive," said Tuley-Tillman.
"I'm living a dream I can say. And all of the hard work starts Sunday at twelve o'clock."
To watch the full video interview with Tuley-Tillman after the Under Armour Game, press play below.
Tuley-Tillman "Living a Dream" (w/video)
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