John Groce is no stranger to making the final cut for highly rated recruits. But actually getting them to play in an Illinois uniform is a different story.
Well, the Illini are once again among the final choices for a top-ranked prospect, with Class of 2017 center Jeremiah Tilmon including the orange and blue in his final five.
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
The 6-foot-10 Tilmon is ranked as a five-star recruit by Rivals, the No. 24 player in the country in the Class of 2017. An Illinois native, he's attending high school in Indiana, the same state from which Groce wooed Jalen Coleman-Lands.
Michigan State, North Carolina and Kansas are powerhouse programs, and Illinois hasn't fared too well against those types in the past, notably losing out to Kansas for the services of Cliff Alexander and watching Jalen Brunson choose Villanova.
But other Big Ten schools offered Tilmon and didn't make the final cut: Indiana, Iowa and Purdue, per Rivals.