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June 22, 2013

Irish land first '15 building block

Jerry Tillery made history.

On Saturday following a summer camp stop at Notre Dame the 6-foot-7, 332-pound offensive tackle from Shreveport, La., committed the Irish, becoming the program's earliest verbal commitment in the Rivals.com era. Tillery chose the Irish over offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss, Oregon State, San Diego State and Stanford.

On his Twitter page, Tillery tweeted, "I am committed to the University of Notre Dame. #GoIrish"

Tillery's commitment to Notre Dame followed a commitment to visiting the Irish in the first place, which required the offensive tackle making the drive from Louisiana to South Bend with both parents. Upon arrival the family loaded up at gear at the Notre Dame bookstore, followed by tour of Notre Dame Stadium.

Tillery worked out for Notre Dame's coaching staff on Saturday morning.

Hours later, he was off the market.

Notre Dame has struggled to get talent out of Louisiana in recent years but had a unique advantage with Tillery considering he grew up an Irish fan. He attended the Independence Bowl in 1997 when Notre Dame lost to LSU in his hometown. The standout from Evangel Christian Academy followed the Irish ever since.

When Notre Dame offered Tillery earlier this month, the offensive tackle knew that his visit to South Bend might be enough to end his recruitment.

"(Committing) is always a possibility, but I don't think I'm going to commit this soon," Tillery told Irish Illustrated. "I'm planning to graduate in December 2014 so I want to try to do it before my senior season ends; maybe next summer."

Tillery had the Irish as an early leader alongside Stanford, LSU and Texas A&M.

Now he has Notre Dame in front of those three programs, along with everybody else.

Look for more with Tillery on Irish Illustrated.

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