The big-bodied Tennessee Volunteer receiver, Cedric Tillman, waited his time at Knoxville and it paid off. The redshirt senior saw appearances in just six games in his first three seasons. In 2021 though he got to play in all 12 games for the Volunteers and he made the most of it.
He finally got some solid quarterback play from Hendon Hooker under new head coach Josh Heupel. That duo helped maximize Tillman in the offense and now he is set to make an even bigger splash in 2022.
Patience Pays Off
Tillman began his football career at the famed Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. He would play alongside former QB1 star Tate Martell there and would earn a three-star rating by 247 Sports. He would pivot that success to getting a chance to play in the SEC at the University of Tennessee.
He would be recruited as a part of then-coach Jeremy Pruitt’s first class. While Pruitt wouldn’t stick around, Tillman did. Despite not playing much at all during his first years on campus he would finally be healthy and available in 2021. New head coach Heupel would bring his offense up from UCF and Tillman was his new Gabriel Davis. He would break out for a career-high 64 receptions with 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns. He will look to carry that momentum over to 2022 when he will have a lot more eyes on him.
What You See When Watching Him
When you carry a frame of 6’3” and 215 pounds, odds are you are going to be a physical receiver. Tillman is the perfect amount of physical when he is running his routes and blocking. He will fight the press at the start of his route and continue it until the ball is in his hands. On several reps, you also see Tillman have to come back or extend them for his QB. In doing so, he is creating more contact for himself to fight through, but time and again he comes through. I absolutely love his route running not for the technique but for how he overpowers defenders.
Despite the big frame he carries, Tillman can stretch the field. When Tennessee is looking for a deep ball or a big play they tend to put the ball in his hands. Whether it is using his speed or physical route running, he is able to get over the defense. Doing this in the SEC against future NFL corners is the most impressive part. If Tillman can sharpen the entirety of his route running and continue to be a deep threat in the SEC, lookout.
While there is a lot to love about Tillman’s game, there are still some parts of it that need some polish. His overall route running needs some more tools as well as his footwork. The way he wins now though will give him success in college, and some in the NFL. Tillman has the potential to be much more but we need to see it wasn’t a one-year thing.
For now, enjoy the game that Tillman brings. Watch him continue to evolve, and be sure to not miss out on any shares you can acquire in the meantime.
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