Going Illinois' way
The Illini have prioritized Carmoni Green since Thad Ward joined Lovie Smith's staff in March. While Green may have been dreaming of other offers -- like Florida -- the Illini kept in constant contact, selling Green as a big-play threat to go along with Chicago commit Ricky Smalling. Whenever Green has listed his short list, Illinois has been at the tip of his tongue. He also paid his own way on a three-day unofficial visit to the UI campus in late July, yet he hasn't visited most of his other top schools. Green recently posted a picture of himself in an Illini hat, if you think those kind of things matter. Other schools think Illinois leads for a reason.
Going against Illinois
Pitt has sold Green as the next great receiver out of the program, even though Pitt hasn't produced many receiver success stories since Larry Fitzgerald. Oregon State, which is in a major rebuild under former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, is selling Green as coming in and being a top offensive weapon immediately. Utah is selling Green as a dynamic duo with a fellow Floridian, true freshman quarterback Tyler Huntley. UCF is selling him on being a superstar close to home. None of these sells or programs stand out above the rest but play to his ego.
Confidence in a commitment
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest: 9.5 -- Green visited Illinois for three days on his own dime and hasn't visited any of his other top destinations. Illinois has been at the top of his list all through the spring and summer. He has a closer relationship with Ward than any other coach. Illinois looks primed -- and as close to a lock as possible -- to adding their second Miami prospect of the month.
Green would give the Illini a pair of high-ceiling receivers in the Class of 2017. Smalling is the physical, athletic, refined, strong-handed go-to receiver. Green reminds me a lot of Justin Hardee from a tools perspective. He has high-end straight line speed and can take the top of a defense as a vertical threat. He also has decent height and athleticism to high-point catches over receivers. He also is a very physical blocker, which would play well in Garrick McGee's offense. The Illini want to add more speed and power-five athleticism. Green fits the bill.
Green would further plant Illinois' flag in Florida, especially the Miami area. Ward has done a great job of recruiting the area, already landing defensive back Antwan Collier out of Miami Southridge. The Illini also have kept St. Thomas Aquinas running back Mike Epstein's commitment so far. The Illini have done a great job improving their in-state efforts, but it appears that Florida could be its next-best recruiting area for this cycle. The Illini are sitting well with Ft. Lauderdale linebacker Diego Fagot, and Green also could help the Illini's attempt to reel in his teammate, top-50 defensive end Owen Carney -- who visited Illinois last month with Green and Miami running back Kywan Smith.