Good Morning, Illini Nation: Morez Johnson a top 30 recruit

May 9—The final Class of 2024 rankings from 247Sports were released Wednesday afternoon. Duke-bound Cooper Flagg maintained his hold on the top spot in the class, with the future Rutgers duo of Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper on his heels. Maryland's incoming center Derik Queen was the only other five-star addition coming to the Big Ten in 2024-25.

Illinois' two-man recruiting class will include a top 30 prospect in Morez Johnson Jr. The 2024 News-Gazette All-State Player of the Year (and Illinois Mr. Basketball) was ranked No. 29 in the final effort from 247Sports on the 2024 class. The top-ranked prospect in the state of Illinois, of course, and the No. 6 center behind Khaman Maluach (Duke), Jayden Quaintance (Arizona State), Queen, Flory Bidunga (Kansas) and Patrick Ngongba II (Duke).

Future Illinois big man was a dominant force in Wildcats' 29-win season and first sectional title in more than a dozen years

"Morez is one of the top players in the country," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "He's got a bright, bright future. I think, if anything else, (Monday's addition of 7-foot-1 Croatian center Tomislav Ivisic) helps him. It creates a great opportunity for him. He's working extremely hard. He's just going to go through what typical freshman go through, and that's the learning curve.

"But the things he does are different than anybody else we've got. You're talking about an elite athlete who's above the rim and a rebounder and a bulldog defensively. he just plays with a tenacity that's a little different. Very excited about him."

Yorkville senior Jason Jakstys was ranked No. 121 nationally by 247Sports and as the No. 4 recruit in the state of Illinois in his class behind Johnson, Cooper Koch (Iowa) and Lathan Sommerville (Rutgers). Jase Butler, who originally signed with Illinois but will play next season at Washington, was ranked No. 95.