By Eye on College Footbal's Jerry Hinnen
A Michigan commitment who made waves by setting an Ohio State recruiting letter on fire and posting a picture of it to Twitter said Tuesday that he's received death threats over the stunt.
Peoria, Ill., offensive tackle Logan Tuley-Tillman told Yahoo! Sports that "there have been a couple death threats" directed his way since he posted the photo, and that his mother has likewise received abuse from Buckeye fans on Facebook.
"I just told her you can't listen to it because it's one of the biggest rivalries in sports," Tuley-Tillman said.
Rivalry or not, it's safe to say that issuing a death threat to a high school junior (or saying anything to his mother) over an inflammatory-but-ultimately-harmless Twitter stunt is just a bit of an overreaction. But Tuley-Tillman said that it's not the first time he's been the target of verbal abuse from Buckeye fans, having recently participated in a Nike Camp in Columbus and wearing his Michigan hat on a trip to the local mall.
"I was up there and the fans were cussing me out and they were saying '(expletive) you' and stuff like that while I was walking through the mall," Tuley-Tillman said. "It wasn't like in my face. They were like saying things and then would power walk away. One of them actually threw something at me, but it didn't hit me. So, that's how it started."
Tuley-Tillman also explained his decision to burn the letter by saying he was upset that the Buckeyes had recently issued an offer to fellow Michigan commitment Mike McCray. But he also said that even after his commitment, he had been willing to listen to Ohio State's recruiting pitch -- until his visit to Columbus.
"They came to my house and they offered when I committed to Michigan," he said. "There was just something about them. They're a good school, I just really hate the whole state of Ohio."
That's a sentiment shared by virtually all of Tuley-Tillman's future fans in Ann Arbor, not to mention his (very happy) Wolverine-supporting followers on Twitter. But that doesn't make the letter-burning a good idea; while it really shouldn't be treated as more than harmless prank by anyone, and we know it has to feel nice to develop some pre-arrival goodwill and adulation among the Michigan faithful, tensions between the two sides are already inflamed enough as it is (if you'll pardon the pun).
That's not, of course, to excuse such awful behavior from the Buckeye side of things. Assuming Tuley-Tillman is telling the truth, it's another black eye for a fan base that hasn't had the best relationship between itself and the world of recruiting in recent weeks.