Corey Bender

3-star DE Owen Carney 'very high' on Illini, plans official visit

Long a priority for Illinois, Miami Central defensive end Owen Carney plans a second visit to Champaign

Owen Carney plans to enroll early at a power-five program this winter. After transferring twice to larger-division Florida programs the last two years, the Miami Central defensive end feels he's more prepared to make the transition to college.

“Every time I transferred, I went to a better district," Carney said. "I found I can compete at a very high level anywhere I go. I really found where my mindset is at this year. I think I created a new motor for myself. I really have high expectations going into the next level.”

The pursuit for Carney is hotly contested. The 6-foot-5, 239-pound edge rusher holds almost two dozen power-five offers and is whittling down his list before a likely December decision.

He took an official visit to Maryland last month.

“That went real good," Carney said. "I really got to see campus and see what they had to offer. I really like Coach (Mike) London and Coach (D.J.) Durkin had a good conversation with me.”

Carney now is working on locking up another Big Ten official visit. “I don’t know when my next visit is, but I’m starting to set up my paperwork for an Illinois visit on December 9th," Carney said. "I’m trying to reach out to Florida State to set up my visit for their final home game, and I just started talking to Georgia coaches last week. They offered me in the summer. They said they liked my tape. They just want to talk about it one more time as a staff. We’ll see how that plays out.”

Carney often has referred to Florida State as his leader, but the two haven't paired for a marriage yet.

“Florida State is still very high on me," Carney said. "The last thing I heard from them is about early enrollee. They just talked to me about enrolling early and there may not be enough spots.”

Would it be a deal-breaker for Carney if he couldn't enroll early at a school?

“Yeah, you could say it," Carney said. "It just all depends on the type of program it is. I do want to enroll early. I’ve kind of set my mind on that.”

Carney two SEC schools also are still on his list.

“Tennessee is still in the hunt," Carney said. "I would like to reach out to Arkansas’ staff and see how they feel about me. I know they’re SEC but they have that dog in them. They’re a scrappy team. I can see that being a fit for me.”

Meanwhile, Illinois -- which has a need for immediate help at defensive end -- has long made Carney its top priority at defensive end.“I’m very high on Illinois’ staff," Carney said. "They treat me like family. If I call one coach, I’m going to end up talking to the whole staff. That’s just the way they are. No other program has treated me like that.”

Though Illinois is a rebuilding program, Carney said the staff's intense effort won't go unnoticed.

 “It’s definitely in my mind and not the back of my mind either," Carney said. "As far as the more top-ranked programs, I just look at them as fits and how I fit there. With Illinois, you get what I just said, the loyalty and the feeling that you’re going to be taken care of.”

After visiting Illinois for a three-day unofficial visit during the summer, Carney has a more narrow focus on his planned December official visit.

“I just really want to the younger class and group, see what their mindset is at as far as winning and how we can just change it around. I’ve already saw everything and met with the coaches and know how they feel about me. I saw the campus. I’ll probably learn more about my major (business). I just want to see the mindset of the players on the visit.”

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