Central Illinois natives suiting up for both Illinois and Cal in the Redbox Bowl


SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. (WCIA) — There are six Illini that hail from the central Illinois area, that includes GCMS grad Bryce Barnes. He’ll be suiting up against Luc Bequette, who grew up in Champaign.

Barnes came into the season just hoping to get on the field. He’s done a lot more than that, playing in all 12 games as a special teamer. He’s one of only three true freshman who have appeared in every game this season.

He started training camp as a tight end but moved over to defensive tackle during the bye week. He’s bulked up as a result, now weighing 260. His goal is to earn a scholarship by the end of his career and the GCMS grad is well on his way to making that a reality.

“It’s crazy, you know I never would have thought of anything like this. Coming in I knew it was going to be tough but it was very attainable for this team. I just gotta keep working,” Barnes said. “I’m not looking at a specific time for it to happen, I just know if I put my best foot forward and do what I’m told, it’s possible.”

Bequette spent part of his childhood in Champaign. The Cal senior moved to Arkansas after his freshman year of high school but he still has good memories from his time in Illinois, including winning the little league home run championship.

“I was able to win the home run derby and one of my teammates should have gotten second but he’s playing baseball at Illinois State now and he’s doing good,” Bequette said. “That year we were also Twin City champions, it’s one of my brightest moments in my career.”

Cal and Illinois kick off at 3:00 on Monday in the Redbox Bowl.

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