Thad Ward is trying to make a splash for Illinois in his native Florida. The first-year Illini running backs coach has tirelessly recruited the Sunshine State this spring and summer, and all the hard work has given Illinois a chance at landing a talented pair of Florida teammates.
"Just the connection that we have," said Green, a 6-foot-1 receiver with offers from Pittsburgh, Utah and Oregon State, among others. "That school has been on for me for the longest. The program has a great coaching staff. Plus, that's just a great school and I could go play early and compete for a national championship and things like that."
Said Carney, who has more than a dozen power-five offers: "I talk to (Illinois) at least twice a week. I got a great relationship with my recruiting coach Thad Ward."
Illinois has made such an impression that both Green and Carney will visit Illinois on July28-29.
Green has been a priority for the staff since March and is looking forward to his first trip to Champaign.
"I'm just trying to see the facility and just get used to the city and stuff because I've never been there before, so I want to see how it looks and meet all the coaches," Green said. "I'm just hoping that I love the facility and I love the coaches. And I can't wait to meet Lovie Smith and see what kind of coach he is."
Green camped at Miami and Georgia this summer. Tennessee, Wake Forest and Florida State have shown interest but have not yet offered. Pittsburgh, Utah, Oregon State and UCF also have prioritized Green, who plans a visit to Pitt in August.
"Pitt, I love how they throw the ball and get their top guys going in the offense," Green said. "They have a history of great receivers. Utah, they throw the ball a lot. That's what draws me about them, and plus they have a few Florida players that I know on the team. Oregon State has been on me. They want me to come up, but I probably won't get a chance to come up this summer. Probably during the season."
Green plans to make his decision before the start of the high school season.
Carney camped all over the south this summer: Miami, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, LSU and Georgia Tech.
But Illinois has made a big impression, so he's looking forward to his visit.
"So far, I'm loving what I'm hearing, but I just want to see it for myself," Carney said. "Knowing that (Lovie Smith) is their head coach, he comes from a great pedigree. His background speaks for itself, and he's brought a lot of NFL coaches on his staff."
Carney will visit Louisville this weekend and plans an official visit to Duke. He said he would also like to take trips to South Carolina, Auburn and Clemson. Carney has many big offers from many prominent programs, but he's looking to separate those really interested from those who are lukewarm.
"I ask myself, 'Can I really be here for four years?' and if the coaching staff will actually take care of me for four years," Carney said. "I'm just looking for comfortability, honesty and loyalty and if I have a chance to really play early and get on the field."
Unlike his teammate Green, Carney plans to make his decision after the high school season.
"I'm going to be whittling it down soon, and I'm going to probably commit in December," Carney said. "I didn't take it down yet. It could change. It probably has changed in my mind, but I haven't really told anybody. I probably will whittle it down, but I'm probably just going to keep it to myself."
Could Green and Carney play together in college?
"We talk about it," Green said. "We share a few offers that we have that's the same. The schools that we feel the most, we both have offers from. We talk about it all the time, playing together."