The Illinois basketball team just secured a great player for the future of the program.
Since Brad Underwood took over the Illini, he has done a great job on the recruiting trail. He entered with so much turmoil in the program but kept key players committed to Illinois, like Trent Frazier, among others.
Underwood’s first real recruiting class was in 2018 when he landed the top player in the state of Illinois, Ayo Dosunmu. This was also the start of Illinois landing some big recruiting classes. According to On3.com, since Underwood arrived, Illinois has had a national recruiting ranking of; 2018 (No. 24), 2019 (No. 56), 2020 (No. 26), 2021 (No. 22), 2022 (No. 12), and 2023 (No. 36).
Even the lower-ranked recruiting classes, like 2019, produced a centerpiece in Kofi Cockburn. Each recruiting class has special talent, and that will continue in 2024. Illinois currently has the No. 39 ranked recruiting class, but we have one of the best players in the country, Morez Johnson Jr., coming in. Illinois is also building out the class of 2025.
Entering Monday, the Illini hadn’t landed a player for the 2025 class, but that is now over. Jeremiah Fears took to social media to announce that he has ended his recruitment and is committing to Underwood and the Illinois basketball program.
Jeremiah Fears will fit in seamlessly to the Illinois basketball program in 2025
This was an incredible get for Underwood and a great start to what could be a special class of 2025. Fears is a 6-foot-3, 175-pound point guard who currently attends Compass Prep in Arizona but is from Joliet, Illinois. He is rated as a five-star recruit and ranked as the No. 16 player in the class of 2025. He is also the No. 4 point guard in the country and the No. 1 player coming out of Illinois.
It is hard to project out for two seasons from now, but the Illinois basketball roster will look completely different, as most would.
Anyone who is a junior or older will be gone. Marcus Domask, Justin Harmon, Quincy Guerrier, Terrence Shannon Jr., Coleman Hawkins, Dain Dainja, and Luke Goode will all have departed by the time the 2025-26 campaign rolls around.
Ty Rodgers would be a senior. Niccolo Moretti and Sencire Harris would both be redshirt juniors. Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn and Amani Hansberry would be redshirt sophomores, assuming both end up taking redshirts this season.
You don’t bring in a top player like Fears and have him ride the pine. I imagine he starts at point guard alongside Moretti, maybe? You could have a backcourt of Fears, Moretti, and Gibbs-Lawhorn. But what do you do about Harris?
At worst, Illinois is going to have a wealth of talent in 2025. This is exciting, and I am curious to see what Underwood can do with all of this talent. Fears is a big commitment for the Orange and Blue.