The city of Baton Rouge has had it’s ups and downs in it’s long history. The 1953 Bus Boycotts in the city made history as many African American’s first stance against Jim Crow policies. In 1962, several Southern University students made history protesting at a Piccadilly lunch counter as part of the nation wide sit in protest. Former Southern University track star Rodney Davenport made history in the 1968 Olympics bringing home a gold metal. However, Baton Rouge has had it’s lows , just recently the shooting death of Alton Sterling and the lives of several BRPD officers being taken away by a gunman. The 2016 Flood has made national headlines as many people lost their homes to the massive disaster. But , there’s is a bright side to this……Football season approaches and that may be what the doctor ordered….
Southern University’s Lenard Tillery has his sights set on a 2016 SWAC Championship but you would never know that he is already Southern’s all time leading rusher with 3,050 yards. However, Tillery is on the brink of making history in the SWAC. Baring no injuries and the Jaguar front can open holes, Tillery only needs 958 yards by season end to past Jackson State’s Destry Wright as the all time SWAC leading rusher. That would be a special feat for a kid who was a walk on from nearby McKinley High School.
Lenard Tillery was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He attended McKinley High School where he was an all district performer for Coach Robert Signator. Tillery wasn’t highly recruited but he was a good kid. As Southern University was going through a coaching change following Stump Mitchell departure and Dawson Odums hire, former Co- Offensive Coordinator Chad Germany caught the eye of the kid and offered a walk-on opportunity. With Southern’s rushing attack being dormant, it gave Tillery , a red shirt freshmen an opportunity to show his skills. Three years later, Tillery has broken the school’s rushing record once held by Steven Worfford , two time All SWAC selection and now has an opportunity to make history as the league’s all time yardage man.
Tillery, now a Senior was just voted the 2016 SWAC Pre-season player of the year at the conference Media Day back in July. Since the Jaguars have reported to Fall Camp, he has taken leadership of the team and was voted captain for this year’s squad. He leads by example and that example can be seen on and off the field. He is a great player but even a great student. Coach Odums praises this kid as the ideal player to coach. But what’s more important is the fact that Tillery paid his first semester tuition as a freshmen walk on but later earned a full scholarship for his hard work which eventually turned into something special at Southern University. History will be made on the Bluff………..