The 90 Illini #4: Owen Carney

Aug 25, 2021

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I usually use one player from last year as the template for the next year. I simply cut-and-paste that info into each post and then fill out number, year in school, height, weight, etc. This year I used Owen Carney. So when I forgot to change someone's weight from 260 lbs, or if I didn't change the number from 99, that's why. The old cut-and-paste mistake.

Now I don't have to worry about it. Nor do I have to change the link to the Looks Like University Of Illinois post. And the Tom Cruises don't have to change, either. This post will now be published 31% faster.

Of course, Owen Carney is up to 275 lbs. this season. And he's not really a "defensive end" anymore...

4. Owen Carney

Outside Linebacker
Uniform number: 99
Year in school: Senior (1 year to play 1)
Height: 6'-3" -- Weight: 275 lbs.
Hometown: Miami, Florida
High School: Miami Central HS
Five best offers: LSU, Georgia, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee
Tom Cruise rating:

2020 statistics: Started all 8 games at defensive end. 28 tackles, one forced fumble, two QB hurries, 7.0 TFLs including 5.0 sacks. 2nd Team All Big Ten.


Carney was my highest-rated recruit in the 2017 class. He was fifth on the Composite Rankings (behind Smalling, Phillips, Green, and Boyd), but I liked his film the best. Then, that season, Bobby Roundtree was the star freshman DE and Owen Carney was the "he'll need some time to develop" guy. After Bobby's unfortunate accident, Carney split time with Wole Betiku for a year and then stepped into the full starting role last year.

Which was easily his best season. Fourth in the Big Ten in sacks, 2nd-Team All B1G, and then, after the season, lots of transfer interest. At one point it seemed like he was 95% gone (some player tweeted his commitment to Florida State as a transfer and Carney said something like "see you there"), but then Bret Bielema recruited Carney back to Illinois. He pulled his name out of the portal and decided to stay.

2021 Outlook

He was #20 on my list last year. Now I have him 4th. There's two offensive players remaining and one defensive player left, so I think that sets the expectations here. He and (spoiler alert) Jake Hansen need to be the anchors of this defense.

Carney never got a redshirt year (he had to play right away), so now he gets it back. All of those Iowa and Wisconsin fifth-year senior defensive ends who have destroyed us the last 20 years? That's who Carney needs to be this season. Developed for four seasons, hopefully a breakout star in his fifth year.


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