Fighting Illini just landed a commitment from five-star big man Jeremiah Tilmon. That's huge news for multiple reasons, but this is especially important because Tilmon is the highest-ranked high school prospect of the John Groce era. As a result, Illinois' recruiting class has jumped up to No. 2 in the nation, behind only UCLA.
But what's next for the Orange and Blue? The real work will begin when Tilmon and company suit up for the Illini. But before that happens, Groce has to round out his 2017 recruiting class. Here are five names to keep an eye on now that the program has sealed the deal with their top target. As always, you can check out a more detailed list of the program's scholarship offers right here.
5. Victor Uyaelunmo (C) | 247Sports: No. 105
Offer List: Illinois, Florida, Florida State, Miami (FL), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Rutgers, USC, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest
2017 is, again, off to a fantastic start, but the Illini still need to add more pieces to their front court. While it'd make sense for the coaching staff to push on players that fit a traditional power forward role, they may be inclined to grab another center in the event of an early departure by Jeremiah Tilmon. Victor Uyaelunmo seems to fit that bill nicely.
The Florida native picked up a scholarship offer from the Illini in May. Based on the tape, Uyaelunmo is a true, athletic center that can rebound and run the floor well. His post skill set appears to be quite raw, but the former is exactly what John Groce has been looking for out of the position.
4. Nojel Eastern (Wing) | 247Sports: No. 61
Offer List: Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Northwestern, Xavier, Seton Hall, Missouri, USC, UNLV
Did you know that Malcolm Hill is a senior? Yeah -- Illinois will be replacing their star wing after the 2016-17 season. A few players on the current roster have the ability to step up to fill and fill that role, but I'm not necessarily sure they'd qualify as 'long-term' solutions. There is, however, an Illinois native that may wind up being a three-year starter on the perimeter.
Evanston's Nojel Eastern received a scholarship offer from the program in July 2014, and the coaching staff has been in contact for the duration of his recruitment. A former point guard, the 6-foot-6 wing has the versatility you'd expect from the position. He's been a bit overshadowed thanks to Tilmon and Jordan Goowin, but he's right alongside them at the top of my 2017 wish list.
3. Paul Scruggs (PG) | 247Sports: No. 31
Offer List: Illinois, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Louisville, Xavier
While things have cooled down between the two sides in recent months, Paul Scruggs hasn't been shy about Illinois' appeal. The Indiana native -- and his AAU team -- have gone out of their way several times to state that there's genuine interest in the Fighting Illini. The physicality and playmaking ability of the 6-foot-4 guard would be a fantastic asset in the Big Ten.
At present, Scruggs is the most unlikely player on this list to commit, but he's definitely worth keeping a closer eye on now that Jeremiah Tilmon plans to join the Orange and Blue. Apart from playing time, what's a major thing that star guards look for? Talented big men -- and the Illini just got themselves one.
2. Trent Frazier (PG) | 247Sports: No. 114
Offer List: Illinois, Baylor, Florida, Kansas State, Mississippi State
While he may not be the most highly ranked guy on this short list, Frazier may end up being one of the most important. The Fighting Illini already have a commitment from four-star combo guard Da'Monte Williams, but the coaching staff is looking for a true point guard to compliment him in the future back court. Frazier seems to be their guy, at least for now.
The Florida native publicly named Illinois his leader in April, and he hasn't shown any signs of that changing. Illinois' backcourt has had issues for seemingly every year since Dee Brown left, so John Groce would be wise to quickly wrap this recruitment up before moving on to other, more pressing needs.
1. Jordan Goodwin (Wing) | 247Sports: No. 56
Offer List: Illinois, Michigan State, Texas, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue, Missouri, California, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech
Goodwin was right up there with Tilmon in terms of importance, so he now undoubtedly becomes Illinois' No. 1 priority. The Belleville, IL native has kept things quiet since winning the Class-3A State title, but the Illini have put themselves in a prime position to land his services.
To put it plainly, Goodwin is a born winner. He's experienced a meteoric rise on the AAU circuit this Spring because of that, and this trend should continue well into the Summer. If John Groce can hold off the likes of Michigan State and Texas, however, he'll be on the verge of putting together a monster recruiting class.