4-star RB Ronnie Walker commits to Indiana

One of the top-ranked running backs in the 2018 recruiting cycle wants to become a Hoosier.

New Indiana running backs coach Mike Hart is seeing to it that Ronnie Walker will follow through.

Walker, a four-star prospect from Virginia, made a verbal commitment to IU on Monday afternoon, giving the Hoosiers a signature addition to next year’s class. According to the 247 Sports Composite rankings, Walker is Indiana’s highest-rated recruit since receiver Dominique Booth in 2014. He’s considered the No. 13 overall running back in the nation and a top five player in his home state.

“He’s an exceptional talent,” Hopewell High School coach Ricky Irby said. “He’s a power guy and he’s also got speed. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He does everything for us, and as good of a football player that he is, he’s an even better person.”

Credit Hart, a former Big Ten rushing legend, for steering Walker’s attention to Bloomington. Hart, who previously coached running backs at Syracuse, originially built a relationship with Walker while stationed in upstate New York.

When Hart replaced former IU running backs coach Deland McCullough in early March, he continued his recruitment of Walker — this time for the Hoosiers. Walker received his Indiana offer immediately after Hart’s appointment to head coach Tom Allen’s staff, and took an unofficial visit to Bloomington last month.

Walker ultimately whittled down an impressive list of scholarship offers to IU, Michigan State and Virginia. On Monday, he made his decision.

“(Hart) did a great job,” Irby said. “He established a relationship with Ronnie while he was at Syracuse and continued that relationship at Indiana. I think that was a major factor. Of course, Ronnie went up there and visited the campus and he just loved the campus and the academic side and everything else that goes on with Coach Allen as well.”

Walker also received offers from Duke, Northwestern, Navy, North Carolina, NC State, Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech, among others.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound recruit rushed for 2,101 yards in 14 games as a junior, and opened his senior season by picking up 166 yards on 16 carries last Friday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Walker’s opening-night performance included a 70-yard touchdown run on his first touch of the game.

“He’s a little bit more of a power guy than a speed guy,” Irby said. “But he’s got great vision and great feet in the hole. He gets in and out of breaks and cuts and things like that in traffic inside when he’s running the ball, which is a good asset to have as a power back. Not a lot of power backs can do that.”

Irby says Walker typically excels in whatever he puts his mind toward. For example, he qualified for track and field regionals last year in the 100-meter dash and the shot put — the latter event being one Walker had just picked up on a whim.

“He wants to be great,” Irby said. “His work ethic is outstanding. He has leadership, character — all the intangibles you want in a football player, he’s got it.”

Indiana has been looking for a running back since Bloomington South standout Kristian Pechac decommitted in June.

Walker, the highest rated player of the 15 committed prospects IU currently has in the pipleine, was a priority target for Hart since the spring.

And on Monday, Hart got his man.

“They’re getting a heck of a kid,” Irby said. “Not only a heck of a kid, but a heck of a football player. He’s the total package. I think in four years, when he’s done at Indiana, the program will have been better because he was there. He’s the kind of kid that any coach would love to have on their team. He’s the kind you build around.”

9 comments

  1. 4 star @ 80. Beat out some good schools to get commit. 3, 4, or 5 more 4 stars needed at any and all positions.

  2. This is why we shouldn’t have to wear diapers worrying about every commit and de-commit until signing day.

    This staff seems to be doing a good job with recruiting.

  3. We also need to get Eddie Van Halen on guitar in order to have a most triumphant band.

    But we need a most triumphant band to get Eddie Van Halen on guitar.

    That’s why we need Eddie Van Halen on guitar….

    That’s why need a most triumphant band….

    EXCELLENT!!!!

  4. This staff is shooting par as far as current recruiting vs. past recruiting which places it in the bottom fourth to third as compared to rest of big ten which equals trying to achieve some kind of mediocrity.
    If Tom Allen achieved almost instant paradigm success in 5 years would he be on a pro staff? Just sayin.

  5. Also IU is still on list for Bloomington South running back/Kristian Pechac. To me IU looks like one of his best offers though I don’t like the fact he decommitted.

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