Two standing out for Miami Central DE Owen Carney?

Illinois landed Miami Central wide receiver Carmoni Green last week. Can they land his teammate Owen Carney? The Miami Central defensive end caught up with Illini Inquirer to break down his recruitment.

Owen Carney wasn't shocked by teammate Carmoni Green's Thursday commitment to Illinois.

"I already knew before he sent it out," Carney said. "But it's nice to know he picked a school that he wanted to go to. We're going to take our official visit there together, and (Miami Central running back) Kywan Smith."

Illinois dreams of pairing Carney with Green in the Class of 2017, and Carney on Thursday gave a few reasons to think that's at least a possibility.

Carney posted a congratulatory tweet to Green following the receiver's commitment, along with the words "Stay Tuned." At the same time, he changed his profile picture to a photo of him wearing an Illini jersey during his three-day unofficial visit last month.

"I just thought it was time for a change for my profile picture," Carney said with a laugh. "But the stay tuned thing, it was just letting some people know."

It's clear, however, that Illinois has become a major player for the nation's No. 40 defensive end.

"First, it starts off with (Illini assistant) coach Thad Ward, my recruiting coach," Carney said. "He put them in a great position. And then when I went up there, it just kind of solidified some things that the whole coaching staff is a family and a unit. It just felt like a home."

The Illini also seem to be prioritizing Carney more than any other staff.

"I believe so," Carney said. "The attention I get from them, I've talked to at least one or two of the coaches at least twice a week. So we keep in contact."

What intrigues Carney so much about a Big Ten program more than 1,200 miles from his home? "I would get the chance to play early," said Carney, who plans to early enroll at his college of choice and join the team for the spring semester. "The NFL background (of the staff) and just the defense I believe fits me in a 4-3 scheme that's very attacking. They have I believe five senior d-linemen graduating, so there will be some open spots available."

Illinois' top competition for Carney appears to be Florida State, who Carney said is "still in the running."

"They keep in contact, as well," Carney said. "They just wish me good luck on my season and how good their camp's been going. They can't wait for me to come back on my official visit."

While Carney -- who had two sacks, a tackle for loss and a deflection in Miami Central's Week One 59-14 win over East Ridge -- has verbal offers from some major programs, he said he's trying to decipher which of those are legit.

"I'm trying to see because some schools that gave me verbal offers, they were still texting me, but I didn't receive an official (written offer) from them," Carney said. "I want to see where I'm at with them because I want to set my official visits before the month ended. But now I have to wait and see who gave me official offers and then I'll set my official visits up."

Hometown Miami is one school that seems to have dropped of Carney's list.

"They're supposedly taking two d-ends and they got the second one committed a couple weeks ago," Carney said. "I haven't been hearing too much from them. The last time I talked with (Miami defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski), he told me to come up to a home game anyway. It is what it is."

So is it safe to say Illinois and Florida State are Carney's top-two choices right now?

"I guess you could say that," said Carney, who has not yet solidified any visit dates plans on committing sometime in December. scouting report

Carney, 6-foot-3.5, 225 pounds, is a gifted pass rusher that provides nice closing speed and athleticism when busting through the offensive line. Carney is a young man that certainly makes his presence known when making initial contact, and really does a nice job of having his motor switch turned on at all times as well. Exploding off the ball and disengaging off blocks are areas of improvement moving forward.

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