High school football preview: The top 10 running backs

A four-star prospect and three Public League standouts are among the area’s top running backs.

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Morgan Park’s Tysean Griffin (1) takes off on a 48-yard touchdown run against Amundsen.

Morgan Park’s Tysean Griffin (1) takes off on a 48-yard touchdown run against Amundsen.

Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

A four-star prospect and three Public League standouts are among the area’s top running backs.

Here’s a rundown:

1. Tysean Griffin, Morgan Park

The 5-11, 165-pounder didn’t play his first high school game till March 2021 because of the pandemic, but had his first Division I offer two weeks later. Now the versatile two-way standout has 13, from the likes of Arkansas, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Michigan State, Tennessee and Wisconsin. He’s a four-star prospect ranked eighth in Illinois and in thetop 325 nationally in the247Sports.com composite ratings.

2. Darrion Dupree, Mount Carmel

Another junior from the South Side, Dupree is a three-star prospect ranked 22nd among junior runningbacks, ninth in Illinois and 350th overall nationally. He has 17 offers, including Cincinnati, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Rutgers.

3. Tony Phillips, Kankakee

The 5-6, 170-pound junior already has won four state track titles, sweepingthe Class 1A 100- and 200-meter dashes each of the past two seasons. A three-star transfer from Bishop McNamara, he’s a top-15 player in the state and top-40 running back nationally. His 10 offers include Arkansas and Tennessee.

4. Vinny Rugai, St. Ignatius

Few players fill a stat sheet like this 5-11, 190-pound senior. He ran 198 times for 1,275 yards and 16 touchdowns last year; at linebacker, he had 58 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He’s a four-year starter and a big reason for the Wolfpack’s breakout season in 2021.

5. Jaydon Wright, Bishop McNamara

The 5-10, 220-pounder is ranked 13th among Illinois juniors and 35th nationally among running backs. He has 11 offers, including Minnesota and Purdue.

6. Nathan Greetham, Prairie Ridge

When the Wolves have a proven fullback in their trademark option offense, they tend to play deep into November in Class 6A. Greetham, a 5-8, 175-pounder, fits that description and he’s also a standout in the classroom with a 3.8 grade-point average.

7. Ethan Middleton, St. Rita

Yet another junior from the South Side, this 5-11, 180-pounder is a three-star prospect ranked in the top 15 among Illinois juniors and 78th nationally among athletes. He has a Penn State offer and likely will be getting many more.

8. Joshua Robinson, Bolingbrook

The Raiders have a long tradition of producing quality backs and Robinson is the latest member of the club. A 6-2, 210-pounder, his 12 offers include Air Force, Army and Northern Illinois.

9. Andre Crews, Simeon

One of the area’s premier two-way players, Crews was a first-team All-Public League pick last season as a defensive back. The 5-9, 180-pound senior is being recruited primarily as a cornerback and his seven offers include Kentucky and Air Force.

10. Davonte Johnson, Kenwood

The Broncos have as much top-level talent as any program in the area and Johnson is part of that group. The 5-11, 170-pound senior’s offers include Army and Navy.

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