Defensive tackle | Notre Dame | Senior
Height: 6-foot-6 | Weight: 295 pounds
2018: 30 tackles (19 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles in 13 games
Career: 135 tackles (72 solo), 24.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles in 50 games; Moose Krause Lineman of the Year in 2017, Notre Dame Defensive Newcomer of the Year (2015)
View photos of Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery.
Summary: Tillery led the Irish with 8.0 sacks as a senior in 2018. Half of his total came in a monster performance that helped Notre Dame topple Stanford. He also forced a fumble and had two QB hurries against the Cardinal to pick up Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week, Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week and Reese’s Senior Bowl Senior of the Week honors. He also had 2.0 sacks and forced another fumble in Notre Dame’s season-opening win over Michigan.
A highly touted offensive lineman out of Evangel Christian Academy, Tillery switched to defense in South Bend. He racked up 40 starts over the course of four seasons, including all 13 of 2017 when he helped Notre Dame limit opponents to just four plays of 40 or more yards and keep the first eight opponents of the season to 20 or fewer points.
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in Tillery’s NFL.com draft profile that Tillery may be best-suited as a defensive end in a 3-4 but “has plenty of tape showing he shouldn’t be scheme dependent.”
“Tillery is a projection-based prospect with first-class traits and dominant potential, but he's still searching for more consistency from game to game,” Zierlein wrote.
Click here to read Tillery’s full bio on NFL.com.
Stacking up (before the combine): Draft analyst Dane Brugler, who writes for The Athletic, has Tillery as the sixth-best defensive tackle in this year’s class. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks does not have Tillery in his top five among the position group, but counterpart Daniel Jeremiah vaulted Tillery up 11 spots from 45th to 34th in his post-combine list of the top 50 prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Triathlete: Tillery showed his athleticism at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine by running the 40-yard dash in a time of 4.93 seconds, which was the second-fastest among defensive tackles. He also clocked the fastest times in the 3-cone drill (7.45 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.33 seconds).
It turns out that Tillery showed athleticism off the field by competing in multiple triathlons. The Indianapolis Star noted that in a 2017 feature that dubbed Tilllery “Notre Dame’s most interesting player.”