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Tillman ready to play ball for JSU

By By Keith Justice / EMG staff writer
Aug. 8, 2002
NEWTON Football is still a central focus in Allen Tillman's life, but this year he will be focusing on football at Jackson State, not Auburn.
A 1999 graduate of Newton High School, who went to Auburn on a football scholarship, Tillman doesn't dwell on the past. "I just wasn't happy with the system," he said of his time at Auburn. "I just didn't feel like they were giving me a fair shot while I was there."
He was a quarterback at Newton, and when he went to Auburn he started out as a QB. But somewhere along the way, the coaches shifted him to the duties of a wide receiver. After two years at Auburn, he decided to apply at Jackson State.
Auburn, so I had to sit out a semester," Tillman said.
A semester is better than a year.
He enrolled in summer school at JSU and has been attending the summer
conditioning program, preparing for the first game of the season on Aug.
31 against Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
He has been very busy in recent weeks, and his schedule promises to
continue to stay crowded. The 6-foot-1 200-pound wide receiver passed
through Newton Friday on his way to the Coast to play softball.
Tillman started playing football in the seventh grade, beginning as a
tailback and then in the eighth grade switching to quarterback. By the 10th grade
he was sharing Tiger quarterback duties with Chris Weems.
He will be playing wide receiver for Robert Hughes and the Tigers at Jackson State, deciding it had been so long since he played quarterback it might be best to stick to being a wide receiver.
When he isn't playing football or softball at JSU, he will be working toward a degree in physical education. "I'd like to be a coach," he said. "I'd like to focus on football and maybe start out at the high school level."
Jeff Breland, now football coach at Newton County High School for the Cougars, was Tillman's coach at Newton High for his junior and senior years with
the Tigers.
Miss," Breland said. "He was a good high school quarterback. He is a great kid, polite, worked hard, and he will have to continue to work hard to get where he wants to go.
In Tillman's junior year at NHS he had 55 rushes for 347 yards, three TDs and an
average of 6.3 yards per rush. In passing, he had 144 attempts and 62
completions for 1,242 yards, 15 TDs.
Breland said some of his records were misplaced or lost, but for the
first eight games of Tillman's senior year, he had 42 rushes for 515
yards, eight TDs and a 12.2 yard average. In passing, he notched 113
attempts, 56 completions for 937 yards, 13 TDs.
In his junior year, Tillman's honors included Meridian Star Player of
the Year and Most Valuable Back in Division 7-2A.
In his senior year, he was in the Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen, the Clarion-Ledger 10 Most Wanted, the Meridian Star South Area Player of the Year, member of the
Meridian Star Dirty Dozen, WMDN Player of the Week and Div. 7-2A Most Valuable Back.