CHAMPAIGN — The wait is over and Illinois fans can let out a sigh of relief.

Four-star big man Kofi Cockburn officially signed his National Letter of Intent with the Illinois men's basketball team, immediately giving the Illini a massive presence in the post.

Cockburn is a 7-foot, 290-pound big man who will give the team the size it desperately lacked last season. He's ranked No. 38 by Rivals, No. 41 by 247Sports and No. 46 by ESPN in the country, and is ranked the No. 9 center in the country by Rivals, No. 10 by 247Sports and No. 11 by ESPN.

He's the highest-ranked post player to sign with the Illini since Meyers Leonard did so in 2010 out of Robinson High School. As a senior last season, Cockburn averaged 14.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and shot 62.1 percent from the field for Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.

Cockburn announced the signing on his social media pages late Tuesday night and Illinois issued a press release on Wednesday morning confirming the signing.

"Kofi is a difference maker," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said in a statement. "It is rare that you see a young man with his size who also has great athleticism and agility. He has a unique skill set to go along with his 7-foot, 290-pound frame in that he moves really well and is a good passer. With his size, ability to finish, and rebounding power, Kofi will impact the game on both ends of the floor."

Cockburn averaged 9.5 points and 9.5 rebounds at the Geico High School Nationals tournament, where Oak Hill advanced to the semifinals to finish the year ranked No. 7 in the USA Today Super 25 final team rankings. He most recently competed for the World Team at the Nike Hoops Summit.

He came to the United States from Jamaica for high school, arriving in New York City. As a freshman he played organized basketball for the first time, attending Christ the King High School before making the move to Oak Hill for the 2018-19 season. He also played in AAU with the NY Renaissance, averaging 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds on the EYBL circuit last summer.

Cockburn is the first signee of the 2019 Class and is likely to be joined by big man Bernard Kouma, who verbally committed earlier in April. Antwan January was the first verbal commitment, but it's not clear that he will sign with the Illini.

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Contact Joey Wagner at (217) 421-6970. Follow him on Twitter: @mrwagner25



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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