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Monday, March 25, 2013
2017 WR is already one to watch

By Erik McKinney

The 2014 recruiting class is just rounding into shape, but it's never too early for an uncerclassman to make an impact during the spring. This year, it's 2017 wide receiver Nathan Tilford (Fontana, Calif./Heritage Intermediate School) who appears ready to create some very early buzz.

Tilford hasn't yet begun high school, but already checks in at 6-foot-2 and 192 pounds. The 15-year-old got his first look at a college campus earlier this month, when he took an unofficial visit to check out a USC spring practice.

"I loved seeing the practice, being up close and watching a college practice, I've never seen anything like that before," Tilford said. "I loved it."

Tilford had an opportunity to see the campus and spend time with the USC coaches as well. It won't be the last time Tilford visits USC or is in contact with college coaches, though the receiver isn't looking to push too quickly through the recruiting process. At this point, he's simply looking to put himself on the map with a strong summer and perhaps an impactful season as a freshman on the varsity team for whatever school he enrolls at this fall.

Tilford is capable of playing on both sides of the ball, but prefers wide receiver, where he feels he can be a difference-maker.

"I love playing wide receiver," Tilford said. "With my height, strength and everything, I love catching the deep routes. I can jump up there and get the ball -- it's plays like that I love to do."

Tilford said he and his family are already discussing options for college, and staying close to home isn't a priority at this stage. He said schools such as Florida, Ohio State, Oregon and Texas, as well as other big-time football programs, have been brought up as potential destinations. Though recruiting hasn't yet begun in earnest for Tilford, if his production this fall matches his immense potential and schools begin to contact him, he'll be ready for it.

"This is my dream," Tilford said. "It's what I've always wanted to do. Anything that comes my way, I'm ready for it."