LAFAYETTE — Last season, Louisiana at Lafayette cornerbacks Corey Trim and Cedrick Tillman were junior-college adversaries, playing in the same conference and hurling insults at one another from opposite sidelines.
If any enmity existed between the two players then, it has been put aside as they start for the first time in the largest venue of their college careers when the Cajuns open the season Saturday at Arkansas.
Trim, who played at Redemptorist High and Mississippi’s Jones County Community College, remembers a game last season when Tillman berated him from the Holmes Community College sideline.
“Yeah, (Tillman) was on the sideline, screaming at me and getting in my head. I’d just scream back at him. Now we wind up (at ULL) together,” Trim said.
It was ironic for Trim to see Tillman later when the two were in Lafayette.
“I’m down here (in Lafayette) on a (recruiting) visit, and I see Tillman here too. It’s like, we played against each other, so what’s up,” said Trim, who like Tillman won the starting cornerback job by his performances in the Cajuns’ preseason camp.
Tillman, whose 190 pounds make him look like a small linebacker, won’t say what he told Trim when the two played against one another last year.
“I guess at the time, I kind of disliked Corey. I know in that game, me and him were going back and forth out on the field. Exactly what I told him was you know, kind of r-rated,” Tillman said.
The two agree the past in forgotten, since a mutual bond between the two is needed for playing in the ’ 72,000-seat Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.
“Really all that time I was yelling at (Trim) in that game I was just trying to get inside his head, because he was actually pretty good, and it didn’t work,” Tillman said.
Tillman said the biggest surprise of the preseason came as he unpacked in his room when the players reported this summer.
“I walked into my room and I’m putting my stuff in and I look up and it was ‘oh no,’ (Trim) is my roommate,” Tillman said.
Trim said he hoped to play at Southern Methodist after high school, but academic issues sent him to junior college, where he intercepted four passes and returned one for a touchdown.
As first-time starters at the Division I level, Trim said he knows Arkansas will test him and Tillman. It’s an issue the two players have discussed, Trim said.
“If they try to pick on us, it’s up to us to show them we’re two great corners. Coming into camp like we did and being on the perimeter, (Tillman) and I have gotten to be like brothers in the grind.
“Cedrick is a great player with great speed, and he is also physical. Early on, we talked, and he and I had the plan to come in and take the (cornerback) positions,” Trim said.
Tillman, however, realizes it’s going to be much different from junior college, where the largest crowd for a Holmes County game last year was about 1,200.
“Emotions are really going to be big. That’s about 80,000, but it’s really not about playing to the crowd. Once we get locked in, it’s something that I’m not worried about,” Tillman said.
UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said he’s aware that Trim and Tillman are stepping onto the largest stage of their careers.
“What we don’t want to do is leave them on an island out there, so what we will have to do is put a safety on top of them.
“Both of those guys are talented and had very good camps. It’s just now that they are going to play in their first game before more people than they did in junior college.
“I know they have shown they are not afraid. They’re athletic, and they make plays. They are going to get stuck in some open field situations against some running backs, and they are going to have to move in to get them down,” Hudspeth said.