Illinois basketball’s recruitment of Jeremiah Tilmon has been a roller coaster for the past year, however it finally appears as if the program has reached the end of the ride.
On Monday, the East St. Louis star retweeted his original commitment message on Twitter, indicating that he still plans to arrive in Champaign later this Summer. This was the first semblance of a public backing since the Fighting Illini hired Brad Underwood.
After a long recruiting process and much thought and I'm blessed to announce that I am staying home #illini pic.twitter.com/z8QhSNWEZ7— Jeremiah Tilmon (@jeremiahtilmon_) July 11, 2016
Rumors regarding Tilmon’s interest in Missouri began surfacing after their acquisition of Cuonzo Martin, and the news of Michael Porter Jr.’s commitment only added more fuel for speculation.
However, this latest ‘announcement’ became somewhat of an inevitability once Illinois decided to retain assistant coach Jamall Walker. He developed a great relationship with Tilmon and his family while leading the recruitment under John Groce.
Tilmon recently finished in fourth place in the 2017 Illinois ‘Mr. Basketball’ voting after averaging about 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game.
Tilmon committed to the Fighting Illini as a five-star prospect on July 11; he had other scholarship offers from North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan State, Indiana, Texas, and UCLA. The 6-foot-11 big man has actually been downgraded to a four-star prospect (No. 29 overall) by 247Sports, but he remains the top player from the state of Illinois.
Underwood faced immediate pressure to retain Illinois’ impressive recruiting class, and he delivered in a huge way by holding on to all four of the program’s signees. That’s pretty incredible in an age where decommitments are commonplace following coaching changes.
Illinois’ incoming class ranks No. 11 nationally and No. 1 in the Big Ten, with the nearest conference foe being Wisconsin (No. 18). Pending unannounced transfers, the program still has two available scholarships to fill.