Mount Carmel’s Darrion Dupree and Wheaton North’s Joe Barna choose Big Ten schools

Darrion Dupree is the third Illinois senior in Wisconsin’s recruiting class, joining Jacobs tight end Grant Stec and Joliet Catholic defensive lineman Dillan Johnson.

SHARE Mount Carmel’s Darrion Dupree and Wheaton North’s Joe Barna choose Big Ten schools
Mount Carmel’s Darrion Dupree (6) finds some open space as carries the ball against Loyola,

Mount Carmel’s Darrion Dupree (6) finds some open space as carries the ball against Loyola,

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

One of the hot topics around the NFL as training camps kick off is the disrespect shown to and the lowball contract offers going to running backs.

But if the position has been diminished in the modern pro game, it’s anything but that at the college level.

A case in point is Mount Carmel senior Darrion Dupree, who recently committed to Wisconsin.

The 5-10, 190-pounder is a four-star prospect rated 10th in the Illinois class of 2024 in the 247Sports composite rankings. He’s also 32nd nationally among running backs and a top-400 player overall.

Rivals recruiting analyst Clint Cosgrove sees the Badgers and new coach Luke Fickell as a perfect fit for Dupree.

“That’s a massive, massive add for Wisconsin,” Cosgrove told the Sun-Times. “They were only going to take two backs [in this recruiting cycle].”

Dupree’s versatility sets him apart from some of the Badgers’ other talented runners.

“He’s not the typical Wisconsin back of the past,” Cosgrove said. “He can run the ball between the tackles [but] he’s just as good a receiver and a runner.

“What they’re going to do with the run-and-shoot, he’s a perfect fit. He’s already 190 pounds. He can be a difference-maker at Wisconsin.”

Dupree had more than 20 Power Five offers, including eight more from the Big Ten: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue and Rutgers. He also picked up SEC offers from Missouri and Vanderbilt.

He’s the third Illinois senior in the Badgers’ recruiting class, joining Jacobs tight end Grant Stec and Joliet Catholic defensive lineman Dillan Johnson.

Illini add Joe Barna

Illinois coach Bret Bielema continued to add in-state talent in the class of 2024 when Wheaton North defensive lineman Joe Barna gave his commitment recently.

The 6-4, 240-pounder is a three-star prospect who’s No. 31 among Illinois seniors on the 247Sports composite list.

His other Power Five offers included Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma and Washington State.

With Barna, the Illini have five in-state commits in the class of 2024. He joins Morgan Park athlete Tysean Griffin, Lyons defensive lineman Eddie Tuerk, Pinckneyville tight end Karsen Konkel and Mundelein offensive tackle Brandon Hansen.

Senior update

With preseason workouts just around the corner — practice starts on Aug. 7 — most of the state’s top senior prospects have made their college choices.

Of the top 30 players in 247Sports’ Illinois composite rankings, only three are uncommitted: Kenwood athlete Mako Grant, Kankakee running back Tony Phillips and Simeon defensive lineman Mikeshun Beeler.

It’s indicative of the way the recruiting calendar has shifted earlier and earlier in the portal era, with top high-school prospects no longer waiting as long to commit as they used to.

“June is becoming the new kind of commitment season,” Cosgrove said. “We’re having summer official visits now. Generally, spots are going faster.”

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