Logan Tuley-Tillman knew it would take a lot of sweat and long hours of hard work to accomplish his dreams of playing college football and to be considered a high school All-American.
His recruitment took a fast rise once college coaches received his junior game film and the offers started to roll in. The notoriety rose quickly as well, and once the Peoria (Ill.) Manual offensive lineman made his commitment to Michigan, he knew he still had one more step to reach.
On Thursday, he reached that final goal when he was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour. Tuley-Tillman knows the jersey represents much more than it does on the surface.
"It was all the drive and hustle I put in when nobody was watching," he said. "This all took me by surprise from where I cam from a year ago. This game is a real milestone in high school football if you want to be considered an elite football player."
With offers from Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida State, Ohio State and USC among others, and now the Under Armour All-America jersey in his hands, Tuley-Tillman can say with confidence that he is an elite high school football player.
Both he and his mother, Angela, knew he would be successful, but the level of success is what was unknown. Coming from an area not known for its football prowess, the family wasn't sure what to expect.
"There was a short period of time when he was being recruited that I thought for a second that he might be exaggerating with what was actually happening," his mother said. "Then I would go online and see all the things he was telling me were true. He's so young and it all happened so fast, it was just like, 'Is this really happening?'"
It was definitely happening, and this jersey presentation is more proof to what Tuley-Tillman has accomplished. The Under Armour All-America Game now serves as almost an award for all the hard work he's put in and all the trips taken to college campuses.
"I just want to be able to enjoy myself down there," he said. "The great location of Florida, it's like a vacation for us. Everybody in our community has been real excited and happy that someone came from the same situation as them and is doing something like this. It's been real humbling and I just want to enjoy it all."
The nation's No. 9 offensive tackle and No. 102 overall prospect in the ESPN 150 will be in good company at the game, which will take place on Jan. 4 in St. Petersburg, Fla., at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN. Tuley-Tillman will be joined by six of his fellow Michigan commitments, two of whom are also offensive linemen.
The offensive linemen are hoping to get a chance to block for their future quarterback, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle standout Shane Morris, who is also an Under Armour All-American. And the Michigan commits have grown close in the short period of time they've known each other. Through camps, social media and Michigan visits, they already feel as though they are teammates.
"We all kind of have chemistry because we all talk all the time," he said. "Being at this game is going to be a lot of fun, though. Shane chose to go to this game first and that was a big reason why we all picked the Under Armour game, so it will be cool to one day look back and say we did this together."
The commitments might be playing in the game together, but Tuley-Tillman earned this honor all on his own.