Top 50 most important Illini: No. 38, Owen Carney Jr.

 

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Vitals: 6-3, 240, DE

Hometown: Miami

High School: Miami Central

Looking back at 2017: Carney found himself in Illinois' defensive line rotation — backing up fellow true freshmen like Bobby Roundtree and Isaiah Gay — after enrolling early and participating in spring practices. He made his Illini debut in the second game of the season and played in 10 of 12 games last fall, with his best performance coming on the road at Minnesota. Carney made three of his six tackles for the season against the Gophers and also had a quarterback hurry.

Looking ahead to 2018: Carney came to Illinois as a four-star recruit in the Rivals rankings and among the top 50 defensive ends in the 2017 class when all the recruiting rankings are taken into account. The pedigree is there to go with a good combination of size and speed. At worst, he's a solid depth piece on a still young defensive line.

Last year's ranking: No. 34

SCOTT RICHEY

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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