Jeremiah Tilmon, a 2017 five-star power forward/center from East St. Louis, IL cut his list of schools down to six on Tuesday and the Illinois Fighting Illini are firmly in the mix to land the versatile big man's services.
No. 29-ranked 2017 Jeremiah Tilmon tells ESPN he is down to five: Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas. @jeremiahtilmon_— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 28, 2016
Tilmon told ESPN's Jeff Borzello that the six schools he is considering are Illinois, Michigan St., North Carolina, Texas and Kansas, while also mentioning that Missouri is still in play.
Jeremiah Tilmon also just said that Missouri is still in the mix. @jeremiahtilmon_— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 28, 2016
Tilmon is one of the most coveted front court prospects in the nation. He is ranked as the 23rd overall recruit in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports and the top rated player in Illinois.
The 6-foot-10, 220-pound big man would be a huge get for any school, but even more so for Illinois. A Tilmon commitment would fill the hole in the frontcourt that looks to be there in 2017 and allow the Illini to focus on adding to what looks to be a promising 2017 recruiting class.
Historically, John Groce hasn't been able to land the biggest and best in-state recruits. Jabari Parker spurned the Illini for Duke, Tyler Ulis went to Kentucky, Cliff Alexander chose Kansas and Charles Matthews said no to Illinois twice. Signing Tilmon sets a precedent for big time recruits from Illinois to stay in Illinois. Big time prospects have influence, if Groce can convince Tilmon to come to Champaign, other recruits could follow suit.
As of right now, 247's Crystal Ball has Illinois as a 67% favorite to land Tilmon with North Carolina second at 33%. While the Crystal Ball is ultimately just educated speculation, it's a good sign for Illini fans that they seem to hold an edge at the moment.
Illinois has been there from the beginning with Tilmon. He is their most important recruit and should they receive his commitment, Illinois basketball could have something special brewing in 2017.