Lilly signs with West Alabama

Published 4:56 pm Thursday, February 4, 2016

Montevallo’s Undreaz Lilly signed to play football at the University of West Alabama on Feb. 3. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

Montevallo’s Undreaz Lilly signed to play football at the University of West Alabama on Feb. 3. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO – Undreaz Lilly didn’t put on pads for the first time until he was a sophomore in high school. The stocky, powerful linebacker and running back had always been a basketball player first and foremost growing up, and hadn’t given much thought to playing football in his younger days.

“I always thought I was a basketball player,” Lilly said. “But Coach (Andrew) Zow (then-Montevallo head football coach) found me and told me straight up that basketball wasn’t going to get me to college. He was honest with me and told me I should come play football. That first year (playing football) was a learning experience, but then colleges started looking at me.”

Lilly quickly developed into a powerful, heavy-hitting linebacker on defense and a downhill runner with surprisingly quick feet on offense. The 225-pounder began to draw looks from schools during his junior year, but did not draw the attention of West Alabama until his senior season. The school intrigued Lilly, but it took a familial touch for him to decide to play for the Tigers.

“My cousin (Brandon Lilly) graduated from Montevallo in 2010 and played at West Alabama,” Lilly said. “I knew he wasn’t going to sugar coat anything and would tell me how it was. Because coaches are going to be good to you, but I knew he’d tell me what was what.”

After a few months of being courted by West Alabama, the Tigers finally pulled the trigger and offered Lilly a scholarship roughly a month ago. Lilly went on his official visit to the school the weekend before National Signing Day and made the decision.

“I knew it then when I got there, the energy there was great,” Lilly said. “And I have a good chance to play right away, they lost three linebackers after this year.”

Lilly was one of the integral cogs that led to the resurgence of the Montevallo football program this season. Lilly finished the 2015 season with 100 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, one interception and a forced fumble on defense and 710 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on offense. His potential versatility to play on both sides of the football was something West Alabama liked in Lilly.

West Alabama plays in the Gulf South Conference, which is an NCAA Division II level conference and includes such teams as Valdosta State, West Georgia and West Florida.