It’s official — John Groce’s top recruiting target is off the board. Four-star wing Jordan Goodwin announced a verbal commitment to St. Louis University on Friday, confirming recent reports and speculation of a major change of heart over the past month. The Illinois native is the No. 48 player in the country; he was also considering Northwestern, Missouri, Butler, Alabama, and Creighton.
Thanks to all the coaches who recruited me but I have decided to attend Saint Louis University pic.twitter.com/SFOGp4fGxq— JGOOD〽️ (@jGoodwin1123) August 12, 2016
So what exactly happened? It sounds like St. Louis’ hiring of Corey Tate was a driving force behind the decision. Tate was the former director of Goodwin’s AAU program, and this prior relationship apparently helped amplify pressure to stay in the area. Or perhaps Travis Ford just has Illinois’ number on the recruiting trail. As you may recall, Ford managed to beat out Illinois for top point guard target Jawun Evans while at Oklahoma State last Fall.
But, man, this news has to hurt for Illinois, especially if the reports of Goodwin’s recent silence are accurate. The Illini figured to be the team to beat for months, and that notion only became more accepted once five-star big man Jeremiah Tilmon committed. You can go ahead and add this to the ever-growing list of unusual recruitments that end in disappointment for the Orange and Blue.
What’s next for Illinois? Probably nothing fans want to hear. Goodwin was far and away the No. 1 remaining target, and a huge amount of resources had been allocated his way over the past two years. Terrence Lewis, one of a few alternative options, already committed to Iowa State last week, and four-star forward Justin Smith won’t even be taking an official visit to Champaign. So Illinois’ failure to ultimately land Goodwin could prove costly in the coming months.
There may be a few other semi-realistic options, though. I’d expect Illinois native Nojel Eastern to become the coaching staff’s new priority at the position, and four-star wing Abu Kigab (CA) could be another possibility; he recently included the Fighting Illini in his top six. Five-star prospect Kris Wilkes (IN) is another, albeit unlikely, name to keep an eye on.
Regardless of Goodwin’s decision, Illinois still projects to have what should end up as a top-fifteen recruiting class. Along with the Tilmon, the Illini have commitments from four-star guard Da’Monte Williams and three-star wing Javon Pickett. Additionally, there’s a really good chance that four-star point guard Trent Frazier (FL) joins the group during his official visit next weekend.
Jordan Goodwin Highlights