Diamond in the Rough: Dwane Tillis Jr.

Dwane Tillis Jr. is a class of 2021 defensive end and linebacker from De La Salle High School in New Orleans, LA. Tillis stands at 6’0 230 lbs with a bench of 310, a squat of 480, and a 4.8 40-yard dash time. When on the line of scrimmage, Tillis shows exceptional power with great ability to break through opposing offensive lines. With great power behind his arms, Dwane can push back offensive lineman with ease, being an overall destructive force in the backfield. At the linebacker position, Tillis shows equal proficiency. His 4.8 speed makes him a threat on the edge, while also maintaining the ability to drop back in zone coverage when needed. With a 4.0 overall GPA in the classroom, Dwane’s intelligence translates onto the field, showcasing an exceptional football IQ. Overall, with his abilities at both DE and LB, Tillis shows great promise at the Hybrid/EDGE position and is an overall force on defense. 

At what age did you begin playing football and what initially interested you about the sport?

I started playing at the age of 6. I watched a lot of NFL on television and I wanted to be just like them playing in front of a lot of people. 

What did football teach you about yourself or life once you began playing? 

Football has taught me how to have leadership skills and it helps me to be more accountable and disciplined.

Who or what has been your biggest motivation or role model in the sport?

My biggest role model is Ray Lewis. He’s a big motivator and a strong person spiritually and it inspires me to do better on and off the field. 

Do you have a favorite memory from your playing career?

My favorite memory was making it to the state championship and knowing what it feels like to make it there. 

Are you involved in any other sports or activities at school besides football? If so, how do you believe those experiences have helped you on the football field?

I am involved in the District Rally at my school. It feels great knowing I am one of the few football players selected to be part of the District Rally team 

As a defensive end and linebacker, what is it like being in that position? What is the most rewarding aspect and what is the most challenging?

I love contact. Feeling my adrenaline rush after a big hit is the best feeling in the world. The most rewarding aspect is when I get a sack or a tackle for loss. The most challenging is timing the ball carrier’s feet to make the tackle. 

Do you have a favorite athlete, college or NFL, that you look up to?

My favorite athlete is Ray Lewis. In the NFL today my favorite is either Bobby Wagner or Von Miller. College is K’Lavon Chassion for LSU. 

What current player, college or NFL, do you believe your playstyle reflects most?

I feel that Ty Summers best reflects my play style the most. We are somewhat the same size and I use his film to help better myself since I feel we are kind of alike in some ways. 

Outside of sports, do you have any hobbies or passions you pursue in your free time? What about them do you enjoy most?

I love playing video games. Hanging out with friends and family. I love to drive. I also like to help my grandparents out with whatever they need. My favorite thing is helping my grandparents because they mean a lot to me and I want to make them as happy as possible. 

For the 2020 season, what are some personal goals that you look forward to accomplishing? Has your team set a specific set of goals for the upcoming season as well?

My goal is to catch the eye of many D1 colleges, have at least 10 sacks, and be the lead tackler on my team. My team’s goal is the same every season, which is getting to the state championship.

What do you believe separates you from other high school linebackers in the state of Louisiana? What makes you unique to your position?

I have a strong passion for the game. I study and watch film a lot to prepare for my opponent. I workout and get faster as much as I can during and on the off season. 

What advice would you give to younger football players who hope to one day play high school football?

I would tell them to never give up on what you want. You must grind and take a lot of time to get better at playing.

With the new Coronavirus epidemic sweeping our country, a lot of teams nationwide have not been allowed to practice during the spring. How have you guys addressed this and hope to overcome it?

We were instructed to do in-home workouts that they have given us. We can go run wherever we can. As soon as we get back to school we will continue working out and getting ready for the season.

Finally, what do you believe to be the most rewarding part about playing the sport and being a part of a team?

Bonding with my team and becoming a captain and a leader means the most to me. Also getting looked at by colleges.