The commitment of Jeremiah Tilmon to Illinois last summer was the biggest splash in a big-time recruiting class for John Groce.
But a lot has happened since, most importantly Groce being fired and replaced with Brad Underwood, sparking Tilmon to reconsider his commitment to the Illini.
Tilmon, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball in Champaign, announced Wednesday that he's requested a release from that letter.
"Thank you University of Illinois athletics for understanding my position as a future student-athlete that signed to play for coach Groce but has requested a release from NLI since coaching changes," Tilmon posted Wednesday afternoon on Instagram. "My family and I feel it's only fair that we hear all opportunities and not be stuck in one situation. We will wait patiently on the release from the NLI.
"Illinois will always remain an option because of my ongoing relationship with (assistant) coach (Jamall) Walker, but this is my future and I need to be certain before I come to campus in June."
While Illini fans will certainly take this as a bout of bad news, it's perfectly understandable considering the circumstances and not infrequent in college athletics. Tilmon committed to Groce and signed his National Letter of Intent while Groce was still the coach. Groce is now gone.
Tilmon could very well still end up in Champaign, but now other schools can re-enter the mix.
Tilmon is ranked as a five-star center and the No. 25 player in the Class of 2017 by Rivals. He was the most notable member of a loaded recruiting class for Groce that also included four-star guards Trent Frazier and Da'Monte Williams as well as three-star guard Javon Pickett. Fans and observers are also still watching closely to see if four-star guard Mark Smith — also being recruited by Walker — will make this blockbuster class even better.
Rivals currently ranks the Illini's 2017 class as one of the top 15 in the country.
Underwood and athletics director Josh Whitman both said during press conferences that they planned to reach out to all the members of this year's highly ranked Illinois recruiting class. And the reported retention of Walker as one of Underwood's assistants figures to be important in trying to keep Tilmon a future Illini.
But now there's another waiting game to be played.
As for the other members of that class, they have made it known that they're committed to Underwood and the Illini.
Da'Monte Williams message for Illini fans!— Jim Mattson (@hoijim) March 29, 2017
He said he had to google "Who is Brad Underwood?" But Monte's a fan already-more on 25 Sports pic.twitter.com/jQB8VvMicX