“I’m going to Illinois and the reason I’m going there is because they’ve been recruiting me for a while, since 8th grade, and I take pride in loyalty,” Tilmon said. “I feel like the coaches trust me and I think they can get me where I want to be.”
Tilmon, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound standout at La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere, selected Illinois over Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina and Texas.
“I just wanted to get it over with,” he said. “Earlier during my 9th grade year I always said I was just going to have fun with it and wait until 12th grade year. Now it’s stressful to go through and I just know what school I’m going to.”
Groce and Illinois assistant Jamall Walker have been aggressive in their pursuit, as Tilmon was the post player they targeted for their 2017 class early in the process.
“Coach Walker, he’s a cool dude,” Tilmon said. “I have a great relationship with him and he doesn’t even feel like a coach. He’s there for me and I can ask him anything. Coach Groce, he believes in me and trusts me. Coach Paris was there, but wasn’t on me as coach Walker was.”
A five-star recruit and ranked as the No. 7 center in a classes loaded with talented post players, Tilmon is a significant pick up for the Fighting Illini. Tilmon said he’s equipped offensively and should be able to help right away.
“I’m more of an offensive player,” he said. “I work on my defense. I have good footwork and I run the floor real well.”
“They said when I get there I’ll be playing right away and that I can do one or two years,” he added. “I’ll be playing my freshman year and I’ll be starting.”
Over the course of his recruitment, Tilmon estimated he’s been by Illinois campus “four or five” times.
With the addition of Tilmon, Illinois now has a trio of pledges in their 2017 recruiting class. Tilmon joins four-star guard DaMonte Williams and three-star wing Javon Pickett to make up their current recruiting class.
Although it's still early in the process, Illinois moves to No. 3 in the 2017 class rankings.