Illini Land Big-Time 2025 Commit Jeremiah Fears

Kedric Prince, IlliniGuys Director of Recruiting

January 22, 2024

Illinois has landed 2025 five-star commit Jeremiah Fears, formerly of Joliet, Illinois, who now attends Compass Prep school in Arizona. The 6-foot-3 guard is ranked as the nation's 16th-best prospect, according to ESPN.  That makes him the program's highest-rated recruit since Bruce Weber landed Jereme Richmond in 2010.

Fears picked Illinois over Providence, Kansas, Ole Miss, and Michigan. For years Illinois was in the driver's seat as it offered Jeremiah when he was in the eighth grade. But that all changed the older Fears got. Other schools started to show that same interest as the Illini and then some; more offers started popping up with coaches wanting to get him on campus. Illinois head coach Brad Underwood knew Jeremiah was going to be a DI player at an early age, which is why the offer was made.

After multiple visits and 23 offers later, Fears made it official at a press conference today, saying he was going to stay home. The family flew out to Arizona early Sunday morning, still pondering what was the best fit, and, in the end, Illinois won out.

"I want to stay home; I want to show people it's ok to play for your state university. Illinois has been great under Brad Underwood. When Ayo was there, my family saw the love he got the entire state and now the NBA. I saw his pictures all over the city. I want to be a part of something like that," Fears said. 

Because Illinois was involved for so long, do not think this was a slam dunk. Illinois assistant coach Geoff Alexander had to work hard to secure this commitment. Ole Miss and Providence were legitimate players here as this went down to the wire. Kansas started to gain traction late but could not match the others.

Why Illinois, Jeremiah?

"After talking it over several times with my family, we just felt in the long run Illinois was it. Coach Brad Underwood is a guard's dream. A lot of coaches talk about allowing their guards to play within themselves. I watch Illinois play, I've been to their practices, and he does just that. No one wants to play for a coach and have to look over their shoulders," Fears said.

He is the first commit to the Illini in the 2025 class, but according to father Jeremy Sr.: "With Illinois’ permission, we're going to try and go out on the EYBL circuit and bring some big-time players with us. We’re not selfish, we are fully aware the more you win the more rewards come later. What some people may not realize is my son played a year up and held his own. I don't want things given to any of my kids; if they want something basketball-wise, go out and take it, show the coaches what you can do." 

Jeremiah is the second Fears to commit to a Big Ten school; older brother Jeremy Jr. is a freshman for the Michigan State Spartans and a former McDonald's All-American.

IlliniGuys asked Jeremy Sr. what that might be like for the family competing against each other. 

"I love my boys, they know that. If that day comes when they play, I guess I will have to have a shirt made half Illini and the other half Spartans," Fears Sr. said, laughing.

Film Room - Ked's assessment: This is the ultimate creator: he is special, and he has been handling a ball on a rope since he was in the fifth grade.  His 6-foot-3 frame gives him an advantage over smaller guards. He has unlimited range on his jump shot and is an equal passer. He has worked tremendously on the defensive end of the floor. When he spends time with one of the best trainers in college basketball, Adam Fletcher, the sky's the limit for Jeremiah. 

Follow me on Twitter: @KedPrince4 

email: KedIlliniGuys@gmail.com

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