Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
Ivory Winters, 5’11”, 206 pounds, Hayti, MO (Hayti High School), RB, 247Sports Composite Ranking: 3-star (85.61)
The Indiana Hoosiers know the kind of an impact an “under the radar” true freshman running back can have. After Stevie Scott burst onto the scene in 2018, IU’s backfield will add a pair of true freshman to the mix and will be hoping for more major contributions in the pair’s first year on campus. Sampson James is a four-star in-state player that everyone knows about. The player fans will need to get to know, and potentially very quickly, is Ivory Winters.
The all-purpose back from a tiny town in Southeast Missouri was prolific at Hayti High School, leading his school to an unbeaten senior season and a Class 1 State Championship. In his senior season, Winters had a truly ridiculous 2,786 yards on 199 rushes (14 yards per carry!) and scored 59 total touchdowns. He scored a total of 388 points in one season. In the state championship contest, Winters had 222 yards on 18 carries and returned a fumble 52 yards for a score. Recruiting analysts that have watched Winters believe he could turn into a star in college and only have doubts about how quickly he can adjust to the major difference in talent from his high school competition to the Big Ten.
Winters is built very well but he’s not quite as big as either Sampson James or Stevie Scott. However, he is a balanced back that might just be the best all-around running back IU will have on their roster. Winters started his high school career as a defensive end and a wide receiver. Hayti got a new coach prior to his junior season and Winters was moved to running back. The program, and Winters’ stock as a player, instantly changed. His receiver work helped him developed good hands but it is his balance, footwork and explosiveness as a runner that should help him get on the field early in Bloomington. Stevie Scott does not need to worry about seeing the field, we know what he can do and what he should continue do. However, I think it’s likely his numbers take a bit of a hit as Indiana now plenty of help in the backfield.
WATCH: Ivory Winter Highlights