DT Jerry Tillery selected by Chargers in first round of NFL Draft

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Six of the last eight NFL Drafts have included a first-round pick from Notre Dame.

Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery continued that streak Thursday night. The Los Angeles Chargers selected Tillery with the 28th pick of the draft.

In four seasons at Notre Dame, the 6-foot-7, 295-pound Tillery totaled 70 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, 13.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. He finished the 2018 season tied for a team-high eight sacks.

With four sacks in Notre Dame’s 38-17 win over Stanford last season, Tillery tied a Notre Dame school record most recently accomplished by Victor Abiamiri in 2005.

Tillery becomes the ninth Notre Dame player drafted in the first round since 2012. That list includes safety Harrison Smith and wide receiver Michael Floyd in 2012, tight end Tyler Eifert in 2013, offensive lineman Zack Martin in 2014, offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley and wide receiver Will Fuller in 2016 and offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson in 2018.

Tillery was six months old the last time a Notre Dame defensive lineman was picked in the first round. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Renaldo Wynn at No. 21 overall in the 1997 draft.

Tillery joins former Irish defensive end Isaac Rochell on the Chargers roster. The Chargers drafted Rochell in the seventh round in 2017.

Tilllery, who was originally recruited as an offensive lineman, signed with Notre Dame as a four-star recruit out of Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, La. Rivals ranked Tillery as the No. 15 defensive tackle in 2015 class. 247Sports slated him as the No. 6 offensive tackle.

GOT OUR GUY.

Welcome to LA, @JerryTillery ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/CdhErLUJJl

— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) April 26, 2019

Notre Dame's most interesting man is headed to the @Chargers. Congratulations, @JerryTillery! #ChargersDraft#GraduatingChampionspic.twitter.com/31Xw6vONCE

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) April 26, 2019

So proud of @JerryTillery! His journey was unconventional but the destination is just as sweet. You’ll do great things. Congrats my man!! pic.twitter.com/gvp41Lz7ov

— Mike Elston (@CoachMikeElston) April 26, 2019

Jerry Tillery to the Chargers is my favorite pick of the first round. Which makes it two straight years for the Chargers after landing Derwin James last year.

— Robert Mays (@robertmays) April 26, 2019

Really like the Jerry Tillery pick. The ND DT is a bully at the LOS with a bull in a china shop game. He long and physical with very good movement skills. He’s a nice fit in the @Chargers defensive scheme

— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) April 26, 2019

Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery celebrates following a four-sack game against Stanford in 2018.