Indiana football's 2022 recruiting class received another major addition Monday afternoon when four-star running back Gi’Bran Payne announced his commitment to the Hoosiers. The Cincinnati (Ohio) La Salle product's pledge marks the sixth commitment in July and 14th overall for head coach Tom Allen's program.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound tailback is rated as the No. 20 running back in the nation, No. 7 recruit in Ohio and No. 206 prospect overall, according to 247Sports. Payne is currently rated the third-best pledge in the Hoosiers' 2022 recruiting class, behind linebacker Dasan McCullough and defensive back Trevell Mullen.
With Payne's inclusion, IU has received verbal commitments from four, four-star rated 2022 prospects and now has the No. 18 recruiting class in the country.
Payne is the second major running back commitment for running backs coach Deland McCullough, who is in his second coaching stint with the Hoosiers. In May, McCullough secured the transfer of former USC running back Stephen Carr.
With Payne onboard, the Hoosiers have more four-star commitments in the 2022 recruiting class than any other under Allen's tutelage. The coaching staff has achieved the feat despite the first signing period still five months away.
Yet another indication of the Hoosiers’ success on the recruiting trail is the competition that they are beating out for these players. In the case of Payne, IU beat out SEC powerhouses Alabama and Florida, along with Big Ten foe Northwestern.
In addition to Payne, the Hoosiers also have many commitments from top defensive recruits.
At defensive back, James Monds and Mullen joined the 2022 class earlier this summer. Both Florida natives, Monds is rated as a three-star prospect while Trevell — brother of IU standout Tiawan Mullen — is rated as the fourth-highest Indiana recruit of all-time.
Ahead of him is McCullough, who is projected to play outside linebacker at Indiana. The son of Deland, Dasan is ranked top-50 nationally and would be the highest-rated recruit ever for Indiana in the ratings era.
The final four-star who has committed to IU thus far is in-state stand-out wide receiver Omar Cooper Jr.
Rated as the seventh-best player in Indiana for the class of 2022, Cooper Jr. figures to be a threat to opposing defenses for years to come.
Notably, Cooper Jr. attended Lawrence North, the same Indianapolis high school that 2021 four-star quarterback Donaven McCulley attended.
— Gi’Bran Payne? (@upnexxt03) July 26, 2021
Looking forward, four-stars Jamari Lyons out of Florida and Caden Curry from Indiana are two players to keep an eye on. Just last week, Curry included IU in his top five along with Alabama, Clemson, Oregon and Big Ten East rival Ohio State. With ample time remaining in the current recruiting cycle, Allen and the Indiana Hoosiers could turn this historic recruiting class into something truly legendary.