Illinois basketball fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Four months after verbally committing, 5-star center Jeremiah Tilmon announced Thursday that he signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Illini.
— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) November 17, 2016
The 6-foot-10 1/2, 220-pound Tilmon is tabbed as the 25th-best player in the nation, ninth-best big man and top recruit from the state of Illinois for the Class of 2017, according to 247 Sports. He made the announcement at his high school, East St. Louis in Illinois.
Tilmon’s signing is a monumental one for Illinois coach John Groce and his program. Tilmon is the second member of the 2017 class to sign with Illinois, joining 4-star point guard Trent Frazier. The Illini have four total commits in the class, which currently ranks as the best in the Big Ten and 10th-best in the country.
Though Tilmon originally pledged to the Illini in the summer, it was not a certainty he would land in Champaign. There was some speculation that he would follow AAU teammate and friend Jordan Goodwin to St. Louis. The Belleville News-Democrat explained the situation Wednesday:
When Goodwin announced he would attend St. Louis University instead [of Illinois], excitement about Tilmon turned to anxiety. And when Tilmon declined to sign his national letter of intent on Nov. 9 — the first day of the official signing period — anxiety turned into panic.
But that anxiety disappeared Thursday, and the future looks bright on the hardwood in Champaign.