Jeremiah Tilmon on recruitment: 'I'm just gonna have fun with it'

Illini target Jeremiah Tilmon talks about his shoulder injury, visits with coaches last week and where he's at in the process.

Five-star big man Jeremiah Tilmon is currently sidelined from the AAU circuit with a shoulder injury, but that hasn't stopped programs from recruiting him full-go.

Tilmon was visited by Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina and UCLA at La Lumiere last week. Kansas head coach Bill Self and assistant Jerrence Howard had an in-home visit with Tilmon's mom, April, last Monday.

Illini head coach John Groce and Jamall Walker had an in-home with Tilmon's mom last Wednesday in East St. Louis, and then they flew out to La Lumiere that same day.

"Coach Groce and Coach Walker went to my house and visited with my mom. They said they loved it," Tilmon said. "That was the second time they've come to my house for a visit. Then, they came to see me at the school."

Tilmon talked about the wave of visits.

"It was a busy week for me," he said. "It was exciting."

Illinois continues to make their pitch to the top-ranked player on their recruiting board. At the beginning of last month, there was word that they had an edge over the competition. But they've had to withstand a powerful push from other schools recently.

Tilmon said the sell still remains the same with Illinois.

"They're just saying that they're my home school. Basically, be loyal and they're being loyal to me," he said. "It's something I look up to."

Another big aspect of their pursuit is to bring together some of the state's top players, which could make for a game-changing class. The potency of that class hinges largely on Tilmon and fellow St. Louis Eagles product Jordan Goodwin, who is seeing his stock soar this spring.

Tilmon said that he and Goodwin talk often about recruiting possibilities.

"Yeah, all the time," he said. "But we're still at a point where we don't know."

Tilmon remains uncertain about the timeline for his recruitment.

"I don't know. I don't know when I want to narrow my stuff down," he said. "If I would have been playing right now, I probably would of narrowed it down over the summer. But since I'm out, I'm just gonna have fun with it."

Fans have wondered if Tilmon's injury would have an effect on recruiting. He dislocated his left shoulder in the championship game of the DICK'S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament on April 2.

Tilmon went to the doctor on Monday, and he told that he will not have surgery at this point. That at least gives him a shot of returning in July if he doesn't have any setbacks. For now, he is just focused on his rehab.

"I feel better," Tilmon said. "I've just been doing physical therapy and all that stuff to make it stronger."

When Tilmon is ready to pick things up recruiting-wise, he wants to take some visits.

"North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Texas. I go to Illinois a lot, so I'll probably be back there anytime," he said.

Illini fans have been anxiously waiting for Tilmon to come back to Champaign and visit a campus he's been to more than any. Meeting with new athletic director Josh Whitman could be important, and the Illini need to utilize every avenue of attack in what's becoming a challenging fight.

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