IU’s Walker enters transfer portal

Indiana running back Ronnie Walker has entered the transfer portal, according to a source.

Walker, a rising junior from Hopewell, Va., rushed 27 times for 80 yards last season. While he had substantially less carries than classmate Stevie Scott (178 carries, 845 yards) and newcomer Sampson James (81 carries, 275 yards), Walker did have a trusted role as a third-down back and pass protector.

If Walker does ultimately head elsewhere, IU’s running back depth will be thinning slightly. The Hoosiers lost freshman Ivory Winters and redshirt junior Cole Gest to transfer midseason in 2019. Winters ended up at Southeast Missouri State, and Gest is now a grad transfer at Akron.

IU is bringing in another running back from Virginia, Nokesville’s Tim Baldwin Jr., as part of the 2020 class. He is an early enrollee and will participate in spring practice.

Former walk-on Ahrod Lloyd, a rising redshirt junior from Park Tudor, also found himself on the field in key situation in 2019 when Scott was injured, including when Lloyd gave Peyton Ramsey a push across the goal line to win the Purdue game in double-overtime.

Walker, the top-rated prospect in the Hoosiers’ 2018 class, according to 247Sports, carried the ball 32 times for 141 yards in nine games as a true freshman. The highlight of his sophomore season was a 64-yard catch and run from Ramsey in the non-conference versus Eastern Illinois.

Even when his touches weren’t plentiful, Walker was a player IU coach Tom Allen singled out for praise for his work ethic and subscribing to the program’s “love each other” mantra. He appeared in all 13 games.

“Ronnie Walker is the epitome of that, and just doing his job 100 percent,” Allen said at a press conference on Sept. 30, following the Michigan State loss in Week 5.

According to TheHoosier.com, IU has two open scholarships for 2020. The Hoosiers started the late signing period Wednesday by adding two incoming freshmen, Georgia defensive end Jalen Mayala and Mississippi offensive guard Kahlil Benson.

IU could also look to the transfer market for additional pieces, or Allen could just bank those remaining scholarships for future classes.

Walker is the third IU player to seek a transfer this offseason, following senior left tackle Coy Cronk and redshirt junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey. Cronk is now at Iowa, while Ramsey’s ultimate destination is not yet known.

8 comments

  1. This makes sense. Walker’s not going to overtake either of the two guys ahead of him unless they get injured. And he might even fall behind the incoming freshman. If he wants to play more, he has to transfer. Walker will probably end up at a mid-major program like Gest and Winters before him. Maybe even an FCS school?

    Perhaps this opens the door for TA to give Indiana’s Mr. Football, Charlie Spegal a scholarship now. That is assuming he doesn’t pick up someone in the transfer portal. It certainly moves Spegal up the depth chart and should allow him to see meaningful game action. I mean, Spegal comes in as a well developed back at 225 lbs., and at 5’11”, that’s a very powerful young man before he even begins IU’s S&C program. If he’s any good at pass-blocking, I could see him averaging five plays a game in the offense in addition to plays on special teams as a freshman.

    1. I agree. It is hard to be the third down back meaning go in there and block the 300 pound lineman trying to get to the QB. Then go back to the sideline and watch until you are asked to do it again. He has done his job well and I get it that he wants to be a #1 running back. Best of luck!!

    2. Walker already has an official visit set up at Virginia.

      Spegal has a ways to go before seeing the field as a FR. There’s atleast four guys ahead of him right now. I doubt we’re going to see him on special teams this year either but I may be wrong. He’s not very fast on film to me.

  2. Good luck to all the transfer….wishing you nothing but the best. Saying that, the depth on this team is getting weak in some position (qb-rb). This coming seasons is getting very interesting with all the coaching changes and players entering the transfer portal. Will be interesting to see what spring football offers this year.

  3. One side effect of these transfers is it opens up more practice reps for players that can benefit from the increased reps. I wish Walker the best and hope he lands at a school that can show case the talent he has.

    This will be an interesting Spring Practice with new coaches settling in, so many freshmen coming in early – especially the top OL an DL players potentially getting playing time this Fall. It will be important to get the pieces together as IU needs to have another winning season to keep the momentum going.

    1. Lots of turnover among players and coaches. Told you guys a few weeks ago that there was a lot going on behind the LEO curtain, and it may not be done yet. Walker leaving wasn’t something they saw coming at all.

  4. They may not have specifically seen Walker’s transfer coming, but I believe college coaches are now conditioned to assume third string players are candidates for transfer. I’ve said for years that unless you’re getting to have fun by playing, college football is too much work and too much risk of injury to sit on the bench during games, especially if there are other schools that will give you a chance to get more playing time.

    If Walker transfers to Virginia, I can’t blame him for that choice. It’s a great school, with a solid coach, in a competitive conference, and it’s much closer to his home. I wish him well, but I would not draw any conclusions about the changes IU FB is experiencing. From my vantage point, the positives neutralize the negatives, if not surpass them. The key question is, can our very young OC fill the shoes of his predecessor? That’s the big question for next season. Otherwise, with every player or position coach that leaves IU, there’s an opportunity to fill the position with an upgrade.

    Growth is not linear!

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