Lance Tillison might have seen it all in the last five years. He was driven away from his home thanks to Hurricane Katrina and landed in Florida. There, he played against Tim Tebow in high school and won a state championship. Then, he started his college career at Iowa as a defensive back, moved to linebacker, and eventually spent a few months at Texas Southern before returning to the Hawkeyes. Along the way he has learned a lot and he appreciates the opportunity to play for the the University of Iowa. Tillison talks about his experiences and much more.
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Or read the transcript below:
Q: Did you have any trouble picking the system back up when you returned?
TILLISON: No, I redshirted, so I know the system. That's not even an issue right now. It's just competing. My job, I wouldn't say it's easy, but once you get the system down here and can line up, you can do the job.
Q: Can you talk about your journey back here? You were headed to Texas Southern is that right?
TILLISON: Yeah, I actually went there for a summer and took a couple courses. At the end of the summer, ten minutes before the first game, the athletic director walked up and he told me that I wasn't eligible. They neglected to tell me that two months before I moved there. I guess they were doing some legal stuff, but I signed a scholarship and everything and it looked to me like it was legit, but it was really a messed up situation. So as soon as I found out I wasn't going to be eligible, I got on the phone with some close friends I had back here and I set up a meeting with Coach Ferentz. When I got in, I just explained my situation and he just accepted me with open arms. You couldn't ask for more than that, it was just amazing.
Q: Are you not on scholarship?
TILLISON: No, I'm not on scholarship.
Q: That's okay?
TILLISON: Yeah, that's fine with me.
Q: I've seen some listing of you as a junior, but are you technically a senior now?
TILLISON: Yeah, I'm technically a senior. This is my last year so I'm just going to keep working man.
Q: You have been through a lot, a hurricane at your high school right?
TILLISON: Yeah, we had eleven feet of water. I moved to Florida and won a state championship, played against Tim Tebow. From there, Iowa came and I was actually playing receiver and strong safety at the time and they came and they got me. I just feel like everything happened from there for a reason, so here I am.
Q: You sound pretty resilient as a person.
TILLISON: Yeah, I mean I've been through everything, so I'm unbreakable right now.