"I remember when I was a freshman and all the upperclassmen were telling me that it would fly by. I kind of just brushed it off, just thinking they were talking."
Three years later, Dupree has changed his tune.
"But now that I'm in their shoes, I'm telling the freshmen now everything's gonna fly by," Dupree said.
Dupree, now second in school history with 21.5 career sacks, will be one of 22 players honored as part of Senior Day festivities before UK's game against Georgia at noon ET on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. The star defensive end/linebacker will have family up from his hometown of Irwinton, Ga., including both of his parents, and knows it will be an emotional day, though his focus is elsewhere.
"I try not to think about it, because I don't want to get soft, you know?" Dupree said.
Dupree doesn't want to "get soft" because the Wildcats (5-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) have an important game to play. UK, having lost three straight against tough league opponents, will try once again for bowl eligibility.
"It would mean a lot to me as well as the fellow seniors to go out on Senior Night, last game at Commonwealth, and win," Dupree said. "Just get the program another boost that we have been working so hard for and just put us in the (position) to get to a different, a bigger bowl. At the end of the day, that's the goal, just get to a bowl and just keep winning games, one week at a time."
This week, the No. 17 Georgia (6-2, 4-2 SEC) presents the challenge at hand. The Bulldogs are coming off a 38-20 defeat against Florida, but likely only makes them more dangerous.
"They bring a very good football team," Mark Stoops said. "I think they bring a power running team that we know has hurt us in the past as well. They can run the heck out of the football. They're very talented. They can throw it. They're very balanced. They're playing great defense."
Georgia will once again be without star running back Todd Gurley, who is serving the last of a four-game suspension for a violation of team rules, but Nick Chubb has gained at least 174 yards from scrimmage in the three games Gurley has missed. The Bulldogs, in other words, have been effective on the ground no matter who has carried the load, ranking third in the SEC with 250.2 rushing yards per game.
"Georgia is very multiple on offense and they can do a lot of things in a lot of different ways with different players," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said. "So you have to prepare for them and be able to defend them in a lot of different looks and versus a lot of different plays. So that's quite a challenge."
On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs present a similarly stiff test. Georgia is fourth in the SEC in total defense, allowing just 336.1 yards per game.
"They're very talented up front," offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. "I think when you talk about the best teams in our league, much like Missouri, the ability of their guys up front. They have length."
UK, of course, struggled on offense against Missouri. Patrick Towles was sacked just twice, but faced regular pressure in the pocket and completed just 19-of-37 passes for 158 yards after a big game the previous week against top-ranked Mississippi State.
"Georgia is going to present a real problem to us because, first of all, they're not going to give you anything," Stoops said. "They're one of those aggressive defenses. They're very well coached. They're not going to give you anything easy."
To overcome that, Stoops said there is no "magical little scheme." Of course UK's coaches can refine and enhance the game plan, but this week has been about challenging the Cats more than anything else.
"It comes down to winning some matchups," Stoops said. "If you just watch them, take a couple examples, they need a third and five or something, they're going to create space, they're going to catch it and get it. We get covered and there's nowhere to throw the ball."
Stoops has delivered that message all week, starting on Monday with the first team meeting after the Missouri loss. Dupree called the scene "ugly," but necessary.
"Coach Stoops said he was going to give it to us, and he did," Dupree said. "He did exactly what he said. But we needed that. You need a reality check sometimes and guys need to be called out for situations that they were in and things they do on the field - and off the field."
That challenge would be more difficult to respond to if they Cats hadn't already proven themselves capable of winning those individual battles against the likes of Mississippi State, South Carolina and Florida.
"We've just gotta be more consistent as a whole," Towles said. "We've had some really good games; we've had some not-so-good games. We just gotta holistically execute better."
To that end, Stoops has relied on a "special group" of seniors UK will bid farewell to on Saturday as he has all season.
"I think it's important to show some leadership and some character," Stoops said. "We need those guys to step up and push us over the top, push the younger guys to, again, be more disciplined, to do the little things right, to create those winning habits."
Dupree and his fellow seniors have balanced a lot this week, from thinking about the approach end of their college careers to planning time with family to leading their team, but Saturday will be all about one thing.
"It's going to be a lot of emotions flying around, but we just gotta bottle all that up and focus on the win," Dupree said.