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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, October 09, 2018 6:40 pm

Indiana adds 4-star running back

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Indiana football added an elite recruit to its 2019 class Monday when four-star running back Sampson James flipped his commitment from Ohio State to the Hoosiers.

James, a 6-foot-1, 211-pound back from Avon, is in the No. 8 running back in the country and the No. 163 player in the class overall, making him by far the highest-rated recruit in the Hoosiers' class, per 24/7 Sports. He joins defensive end Beau Robbins of Carmel as four-star recruits for IU in 2019.

Coach Tom Allen admitted he was very excited about the commitment.

"If you'd have been anywhere near this block, you'd have heard me screaming," he said. "For quite a bit."

James is the No. 3 player in the state, while Robbins is the No. 4 player, again according to 24/7. The No. 1 player in those rankings is defensive end George Karlaftis, a West Lafayette native who has already committed to Purdue. No. 2 is Warren Central wide receiver David Bell, who is uncommitted, but has Indiana and Purdue among his top five. Taken together, the Boilermakers and Hoosiers are making their presences known in in-state recruiting (Fort Wayne's Craig Young, an Ohio State commit, is the No. 9 player in the state).

James is the 16th commitment in Indiana's class, which ranks No. 41 in the country. That would be the highest ranking for a Hoosiers recruiting class since 2000, per 24/7's composite rankings (Indiana ranked No. 38 that year and No. 42 in 2013).

Simply put, this a coup for the Hoosiers, who would figure to have a very strong running back corps next season with James and breakout freshman star Stevie Scott in the backfield together. This is also a win for running backs coach Mike Hart, the former Michigan and Indianapolis Colts running back, who led the recruiting charge on James and helped convince him to flip to the Hoosiers.