The Journal Gazette
Friday, August 13, 2021 8:20 pm

Former IU running back Sampson James transfers to Purdue

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Former Indiana running back Sampson James, the second-highest rated recruit to sign with the Hoosiers since 2000 according to, put his name in the transfer portal on Wednesday. This afternoon, the Avon native announced he is staying in state and transferring to play for Purdue. He will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

"Excited to become a part of something special in West Lafayette," the 6-foot-1, 220-pound James wrote in a post on social media. "Let's work."

James ran for 371 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons at Indiana, during which he started two games. The Boilermakers have Third-Team All-Big Ten performer Zander Horvath at the position, plus productive junior King Doerue. James has easily the best prospect pedigree of the three, but it is unclear whether James will be eligible to play immediately. He missed the July 1 deadline to be automatically eligible, but Purdue can still petition the NCAA for a waiver that would clear him.

Indiana still feels it has a strong running backs room with former USC back Stephen Carr, a five-star recruit in 2017, having transferred in during the offseason to join promising true sophomore Tim Baldwin Jr. and speedster David Ellis. Charlie Spegal, the 2019 Indiana Mr. Football out of New Palestine could earn a carry or two in certain situations, as well.

"We have a very strong running back room," Indiana coach Tom Allen said after James' departure. "A lot of depth and a lot of guys that have had really good practices so far and I'm very excited about those guys."

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