Yesterday was Notre Dame Day, a day long celebration of the university and its many facets. Part of that was a day-long (and still going, thanks to some technical difficulties) digital broadcast covering many different topics.
Freshman Jerry Tillery was interviewed by UND.com’s Jack Nolan, one of our first extended looks at the young defensive lineman who was the talk of spring practice. And after watching the short Q&A with Nolan, it’s clear that Tillery is just as impressive off the field as he has been on it.
The early-enrollee spoke about the transition to Notre Dame from Louisiana, his quick ascent up the depth chart and what it’s like being a member of the defensive line. Originally slated to be on the offensive side of the ball, Tillery talked about how easy the transition has been to Keith Gilmore’s position group.
“The dudes on the defensive line are a lot like me,” Tillery said. “That really helped. Coming in early, I got to understand, and get into the culture, and see how they do things. I definitely try to copy that. And we’re together all the time, so you have to pretty much like each other. It’s been fun. The defensive lineman culture, I love it.”
One thing that was a surprise to Tillery was the praise he received from his head coach this spring. While the media on the beat has covered in great detail Kelly’s compliments for his young defensive lineman, those words of praise don’t seem like they’ve made their way back to Tillery.
“You can’t! I’m not watching coach’s press conferences, come on,” Tillery said with a laugh, when asked if heard or seen Kelly’s comments. “If you’re going to be good—I’ve got too much going on to sit down and watch press conferences…
“It means the world to me. That’s my goal, to come in and impress these coaches so I can get on the field and play football like I love to do. That’s what I came here trying to do and I think I’ve done well.”
Watch the whole interview—including Tillery’s lofty goals for this season—below.