There is not much more left to accomplish at Southern for senior stars Lenard Tillery and Willie Quinn.
Individually, Tillery is spending every week expanding putting distance between himself and everyone else for the SWAC career rushing record, and Quinn owns school marks in receptions and receiving yards. They’ve both been a part of tremendous team success as well.
It’s logical then to wonder what their next step is, and Southern coach Dawson Odums was asked about that at his Tuesday news luncheon. Do Tillery and Quinn have what it takes to play in the NFL?
“I’m going to be biased — I think they have the ability,” Odums said. “I just think they need an opportunity, and I think someone is going to give them an opportunity.”
Both will have big hurdles to clear to simply get a shot. Both are undersized according to the professional positional prototype, especially Quinn. Both must overcome a small-school stigma that will in all likelihood leave them trying to make a roster as an undrafted free agent.
But so far, they’ve done all the things Odums feel are necessary to be given a chance.
“The first thing I tell guys is you’ve got to be productive, you’ve got to carry yourselves a certain way and everything else will take care of itself,” Odums said. “So they’re productive, they carried themselves the right way, now it’s just waiting to see if they get an opportunity.”
Odums said he’s had scouts around the program to ask about both Tillery and Quinn, but he does not focus on what they might think about his players as the season unfolds.
“We’ve had scouts come in here and ask about them, write them up,” Odums said. “But as far as having the insight, what they’re writing, what they’re talking about, what’s their grade — you really don’t get that until the end of the season. But the numbers speak for themselves.”
Aaron Tiller’s great day against Prairie View was adjusted Monday to a slightly less great day.
He was initially ruled to recover his strip sack of Prairie View quarterback Jalen Morton in the end zone for a touchdown. After looking back at the footage of the game, it was determined that the fumble was actually recovered by lineman Brad Porter.
Tiller had his hands on the ball, but did not secure possession. It was Porter who ultimately came down with it in the end zone.
Still, it doesn’t take much away from Tiller’s official day: 13 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and a forced fumble.
“He turned in a game, from a stat standpoint, that is something you can read about years down the road,” Odums said.
After leading the SWAC in sacks a year ago, Tiller got off to a slow start in that category this season, with just one sack in his first five games.
“I challenged him,” Odums said. “‘You’ve got to step it up, we need you to play a lot better and play more inspired football.’ He’s done that, he’s accepted the challenge. I’m looking for him to continue to grow down the stretch.”
Family ticket plan
Fans wishing to attend Saturday’s home finale against Mississippi Valley State as a family can purchase a group of four tickets for less than $50 as part of Southern’s Family Four Pack promotion.
For more information, please contact the Southern ticket office at (225) 771-4191 or (225) 771-4192.