ESPN 100 center Jeremiah Tilmon has requested a release from his letter of intent to IL, he announced on Wednesday.
"Thank you University of IL athletics for understanding my position as a future student athlete that signed to play for Coach Groce but has requested release from NLI after coaching changes", Tilmon wrote. Schools do not have to release a player from a NLI, but nearly always do so to avoid deterring future recruits from coming.
"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". He also says he wants to explore all his options now that Groce is gone and does not want to be stuck in one situation.
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. He helped the Illini skyrocket into having the 11th ranked recruiting class in the country.
He's been dubbed a four-star prospect by ESPN, which ranks him No. 41 in the 2017 class and No. 6 at center, and 247 Sports, which lists him No. 36 overall and No. 9 at power forward. The five-star center signed with IL in the fall and was expected to stay committed to the Fighting Illini after the program's head-coaching change, but Tilmon wants to consider other options.