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Breaking down the Badgers 2024 recruiting class: Running Backs

The Badgers landed three top running back recruits in their 2024 class

Wisconsin Badgers RB Darrion Dupree

For only the second time since 2005 (omitting the 2020 shortened season), the Wisconsin Badgers failed to produce a 1,000-yard rusher. With Braelon Allen battling injuries near the end of the season and Chez Mellusi being lost for the year after only 4 games, Wisconsin’s depth was tested a bit at the running back position.

Luke Fickell and the staff went all in on the position in recruiting, though, and I am extremely excited about the group they are bringing in.

Dilin Jones

Dilin Jones comes in as the highest-ranked running back recruit in the class for the Badgers. A consensus four-star recruit and ranked in the top 15 nationally for the position, Jones played his high school ball at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland, putting up over 2,100 yards and 32 touchdowns over his last 2 seasons.

Standing 5’11 and weighing 190 pounds, Jones possesses both strength and speed. He consistently shows the ability to deliver as much or more of a hit as he receives, routinely breaking tackles at or near the line of scrimmage.

Once he gets in the open field, he has the ability to make people miss and also has the speed to outrun defensive backs. He garnered offers from over 30 schools, choosing Wisconsin over the likes of Florida State, Michigan, and Notre Dame.

He looks like a prototypical Wisconsin back with his ability to pound the ball between the tackles and rip off big gains on the back end.

Darrion Dupree

Darrion Dupree, out of Mount Carmel, Illinois, was rated as a three-star back by On3, 247 Sports, and ESPN, while garnering a four-star rating from Rivals. Dupree stands 5’11, weighs 180 pounds, and is an absolute Swiss army knife.

During his senior season, he put up over 1,000 yards rushing, over 750 yards receiving, and scored 24 touchdowns. He is a threat to score whenever he has the ball in his hands.

At Mount Carmel, he lined up in the backfield, out wide, and in the slot. He has remarkable ball skills, runs hard, possesses a nice stiff arm, and slips so many tackles that it makes you wonder if he dips himself in Vaseline before the game.

In the open field, he puts defenders in the blender with his ability to juke and has excellent balance, running through and bouncing off of would-be tacklers constantly. I don’t remember a running back at Wisconsin with his blend of rushing and receiving ability since Brian Calhoun.

He is a perfect fit for the offense and has the potential to be a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. Dupree had over 30 scholarship offers as well and chose Wisconsin over the likes of Michigan, Notre Dame, Washington, and a late push from Alabama.

Gideon Ituka

Gideon Ituka joins the program out of Gaithersburg, Maryland.

A three-star recruit, Ituka stands 5’10 and comes in at 230 pounds. As a senior, he accumulated over 2,200 yards rushing and 33 touchdowns. He is a punishing back, built with a big lower body that he uses to move piles and run through tacklers.

While he is a power back, he also possesses solid speed to break long runs. He has a great stiff arm and fantastic contact balance. He has great feet for a bigger back.

His running style brought to mind former Badger running Back PJ Hill, who had a nice career in Wisconsin. He chose Wisconsin over offers from Tennessee, Maryland, and Boston College.

Grade

After reading this, I don’t think you will be surprised that I am giving this position an A.

I feel like this group of 3 has something for everyone, with Jones being more of the standard every down back, Ituka being a power back, and Dupree being able to do everything.

I am not going to be one bit surprised if one or more of these players see the field as a true freshman.

The absolute only concern I have is being able to get all three the ball enough, but having more than one great option in the backfield is a good problem to have and one that I am sure Wisconsin will welcome.