Even without Alexander, Illinois has superb Class of 2014

Obviously, many impressions will change regarding John Groce's 2014 recruiting class if a certain power forward from Chicago picks Illinois on Friday.

Cliff Alexander, the aforementioned prospect, is set to announce his college choice on an ESPU special that starts at 3 p.m. on Friday. The consensus top-five recruit will decide between DePaul, Illinois, Kansas and Memphis.

While the countdown until his decision will consume fan bases at all four schools, along with lighting up social media and message boards even more than Alexander's recruitment has in the past year, not all is lost for Illinois even if the Chicago Curie talent doesn't elect to head south to Champaign-Urbana.

The recruiting Groce and his staff of assistant coaches Dustin Ford, Jamall Walker and Paris Parham have done when it pertains to the Class of 2014 is a key reason why Illinois will have a consensus top 20 recruiting class. With or without Alexander.  And Illinois already has a head start on putting together another superb Class of 2015 with top-50 player D.J. Williams of Chicago Simeon already committed.

Certainly, if Alexander chooses Illinois on Friday, the Illini would vault into the same sentence with Kentucky, Ohio State and North Carolina, the three programs who have generally the best recruiting classes lined up for the Class of 2014.

All the attention will drift towards Alexander in the next 48 hours until he decides, but the trio of recruits in Leron Black, Michael Finke and Quentin Snider that Groce has reeled in will help Illinois put together a second straight solid recruiting class with Groce at the helm of the program.

Here's where Illinois stacks up with its class so far on the first day recruits can sign letters of intent, according to various recruiting services.

ESPN
1. Kentucky
2. Ohio State
3. North Carolina
4. Xavier
5. Maryland
6. Florida
7. Seton Hall
8. Georgetown
9. Stanford
10. San Diego State
11. Louisville
12. VCU
13. Indiana
14. Illinois
15. Marquette
16. Tennessee
17. Syracuse
18. UNLV
19. North Carolina State
20. Providence
21. Northwestern
22. Alabama
23. Oklahoma State
24. Vanderbilt
25. Arizona

Scout.com
1. Kentucky
2. North Carolina
3. Ohio State
4. Maryland
5. Georgetown
6. Florida
7. Seton Hall
8. San Diego State
9. Xavier
10. Louisville
11. Arizona
12. UNLV
13. Syracuse
14. North Carolina State
15. Oklahoma State
16. Marquette
17. Providence
18. Illinois
19. Indiana
20. SMU
21. Miami (Fla.)
22. Missouri
23. Stanford
24. Alabama
25. Wake Forest

247sports.com
1. Kentucky
2. North Carolina
3. Ohio State
4. Florida
5. Maryland
6. Louisville
7. Seton Hall
8. Georgetown
9. San Diego State
10. Arizona
11. Stanford
12. North Carolina State
13. Illinois
14. Xavier
15. Oklahoma State
16. Providence
17. Indiana
18. Marquette
19. UNLV
20. Syracuse
21. Alabama
22. Missouri
23. USC
24. Miami (Fla.)
25. VCU

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