Merry Christmas! Lovie Smith and his coaching staff have been on quite a roll this holiday season, and they just reeled in yet another huge addition to their first recruiting class.
Three-star defensive end Owen Carney (FL) committed to Illinois on Sunday, picking the Orange and Blue over Florida State, Duke, Maryland, and several more Power 5 programs. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Miami Central product is rated as the nation’s No. 476 overall player by 247Sports. Carney took an unofficial visit to Champaign on July 28, and that trip was followed by an official visit on December 9.
Carney held additional scholarship offers from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi State, Navy, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCF, USF, Utah, and Wake Forest.
Here’s what Scout has to say about the newest member of the Fighting Illini.
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.
Illinois’ combined group of 17 recruits will rank No. 42 nationally once 247Sports reflects Carney’s announcement; the Orange and Blue were No. 48 at the start of the day. Carney is the third defensive lineman lined up for next Fall, joining four-star tackle Kendrick Green (IL) and three-star strong-side end Olalere Oladipo (IL).