Phillips junior three-star ranked inside linebacker Amani Jones (6-foot-0, 215 pounds) gave Illinois head coach Tim Beckman his verbal commitment on Thursday after watching the Fighting Illini spring practice.
"I decided that I wanted to play for Illinois so I committed," Jones said. "Illinois is my in-state school and why not Illinois? Illinois was my first offer and I had been thinking about it over spring break. I just didn't want to wait and miss out on a great opportunity at Illinois."
Jones is now going to focus on trying to bring over two of his Phillips teammates, including defensive tackle Amir Watts and wide receiver Quayvon Skanes. Both players already have offers from Illinois.
[MORE PREPS: Busy spring for Hinsdale South DE Josh King]
"I want to now go out and get those guys to come with me to Illinois."
Jones, who was an All-State linebacker for the Wildcats and head coach Tim McAllister in 2014, is the first Chicago area verbal commitment for the Illini. Jones is also the third in-state pledge for Illinois and the fourth Class of 2016 verbal commitment for the Fighting Illini. Jones is joined by O'Fallon running back Kentrail Moran and Rockford Auburn safety Juwuane Parchman as in-state verbal commitments for Illinois.