"They’re so close and it feels like home,” Tilmon said. "It’s like a two hour ride from home, and it’s cool that I can just come up here and enjoy the fun."
Ryan Easterling - Scout.com
5-star 2017 prospect Jeremiah Tilmon of East St. Louis makes it back to Champaign for another Illini visit
Jeremiah Tilmon made a trip to Champaign on Saturday again for the second time this summer, and with every visit, his comfort level with the program and familiarity with the atmosphere grows.
That growing relationship with Coach Groce and his staff is going to be key down the stretch of his recruitment, as Tilmon emphasized how much it will mean when he makes his decision.
"It’s really important (to be comfortable with the coaches),” he said, "because that’s one of the main things I’ll be looking for when I go to commit."
Tilmon has already gotten a pretty thorough look at the Illini on his prior visits, but Saturday was his first live football game in Champaign, and he said he was enjoying himself.
"Nothing new this time, really,” he said. "I’ve seen everything here really, but this is the first football game I’ve seen. It’s definitely a good experience to go to one of their games."
Tilmon made a trip to Mizzou a week ago for their football game, and got to spend time with a former AAU teammate in Michael Porter.
"It was real fun,” Tilmon said. "It was hot though. I got to walk around the field, walk around the campus, and hang with some of the players. Michael and I are close. He’s trying to get me to come back to MoKan,” he said laughing.
One player who was supposed to make the trip as well was St. Louis Eagles teammate and fellow 2017 Illinois prospect Jordan Goodwin. Tilmon and Goodwin are close, and the two talk pretty often, including about the possibility of attending the same school.
"We talk about recruiting a lot, being that we’re so close,” he said. "It’s something we think about. We talk about whether we want to go to the same school or not."
As for how likely that is, Tilmon said "It’s probably like a 7 out of 10 chance (we go to the same school)."
Illinois got involved in Tilmon’s recruitment early and have been relentless in pursuing him ever since. That has long stood out for the big man.
"It just opened my eyes up as a freshman,” he said. "They were really the first ones to be there. I think Kansas is going to turn up the heat soon. I’m also hearing from Indiana and Louisville a lot."
Early on, Tilmon said he would prefer to stay closer to home in college, but after traveling the country on the AAU circuit, it has relaxed that preference a bit, and he seems more open to landing anywhere geographically.
"Honestly now being close doesn’t really matter,” Tilmon said. "I can go far now that I’ve traveled around for EYBL and all that. If I stay close then I’m going to go somewhere close that I know is good for me, but I’m open to going far."
But he did admit that going somewhere close to home, like Illinois, where the fans already know all about him and would cheer for him from day one would be a big plus.
"It would feel crazy,” he said. "It would be fun (having them cheer for me)."
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