Photo by LA Chargers
Notre Dame Football

Tillery and Rochell Excited for LA Reunion

April 26, 2019

Maui was the location for Jerry Tillery’s draft party as the Los Angeles Chargers selected him with the 28th pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday night. 

The Notre Dame graduated celebrated and then flew to Los Angeles on Friday morning to be introduced by the Chargers organization. 

“It’s been a little hectic, but I’m taking it one step at a time by the hour,” stated Tillery. “I’m taking it all in.” 

Tillery will join his former Notre Dame teammate, Isaac Rochell, on the Chargers defensive line and the two immediately connected at the Chargers facility. 

“First off, he’s a beast,” laughed Rochell. “That’s what we do at Notre Dame.  My thing with Jerry is what we need. He fits the mold. We need a big dude to come in and pass rush. He’s going to that and he showed that all of last year. 

“He was dominant and then he’s an absolute run stopper because he’s a huge body. He plays with good leverage. He’s a jack of all trades. I’m excited.” 

The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder would likely echo Rochell’s comments as Tillery has come a long way since arriving in South Bend. 

“I learned how to work hard and pursue what you want to do in life,” explained Tillery. “How to treat people. It taught me relationship skills and we played great football there. I learned the game and I fell in love with the game. These are all things that led me to this moment standing at this podium.” 

Tillery’s traveling and off the field interests have been well documented over the last four years and he admitted they have helped mold him into the person and player he has become.

“I’m fundamentally a different person than when I started at Notre Dame four years ago,” Tillery said. “Every college graduate would tell you that. I’ve grown as a person and I’ve seen new things. I’ve experienced a lot more. 

“As a player, I’ve learned so much more about the game. I know so much more about football than I knew when I started.” 

Rochell spoke highly of Tillery’s game, but also was excited to have a friend back in the locker room. 

“It was super fun,” Rochell stated. “It was cool for me to play with him and watch him develop. He made a big jump from his first year to his second year. Off the field, I enjoyed hanging out with Jerry. He’s a cool dude and I think he’ll fit really well into our locker room. I’m hyped to have him back playing with me.” 

As with any first job, Tillery will go through growing pains as he gets acclimated to the NFL lifestyle, but Rochell will be right by his side to guide him. 

“He’s going to fit very well,” said Rochell. “For him, it’s going to be important who can coach him along in this process. Coming into the NFL for any young player is different than being in college.

“I know Jerry. I love Jerry. I’m always going to shoot him straight and that’s going to be something important for him, especially since I’ve known him for five or six years now. I’m always going to tell him how it is, but I’m going to help him become the best player he can be.” 

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