Illini make their pitch to DE Owen Carney

Miami Central defensive end Owen Carney discusses weekend trip to Illinois; recent interest from Florida State and Miami

As a pair of power programs from the state of Florida make a push for Owen Carney, the three-star Miami (Fla.) Central defensive end spent three days on the Illinois campus during the weekend.

"I came up Wednesday night and left Sunday morning, so it was a nice amount of time up in Champaign," Carney said. "The campus is great. It's not too big, so I can see myself really going there. As far as the coaches, all the coaches are really open and nice. You can got to them anytime you need something. I feel just a lot of warmth and everything from them."

Carney took the trip with high school teammates Carmoni Green and Kywan Smith, who also hold Illinois offers. 

It felt a little bit more comfortable than usual because most of the time I'm not lucky enough to have the same offers as my teammates," Carney said. "But this one we do share. We came there together, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves."

During the visit, Carney spent some quality one-on-one time with Illini head coach Lovie Smith.

"We just talked a lot about life," Carney said. "The coaching staff was put together through connections and backgrounds. He talked about how many places he's been and how many coaches he knows. He said he never won a Super Bowl, but that he's got one coming to Champaign as far as a national championship." This summer, Carney has visited several southeastern schools, including Florida State, Miami, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, LSU and Georgia Tech. A recent Florida State offer could change his recruitment.

"It was kind of big," Carney said. "They automatically made my top-five, but I still got to take some time and get some details and do my homework on them."

Hometown school Miami is also making a big push.

"Miami's starting to come hard," Carney said. "I got to go check out one of their practices when they start up."

Carney said his plans have not changed though. He said he still wants to make a December decision and enroll early at his school of choice.

So what does Illinois have going for it in this big-time recruitment?

"With me, I think I can really come in right away (at Illinois) and make an impact," Carney said. "I'm going to be a mid-year (enrollee), so I'm going to try to make a run for a starting job right away. And I feel like the scheme fits me. I can really be successful in their defense."

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