Indiana football added a commitment to its 2022 recruiting class Monday when four-star Cincinnati running back Gi'Bran Payne chose the Hoosiers over offers from Iowa, Kentucky and Louisville, among others.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Payne is the No. 206 player nationally, per 247sports.com, and the 20th-ranked running back in his class. He is the fourth four-star recruit – along with DE Dasan McCullough, CB Trevell Mullen and WR Omar Cooper – in Indiana's 2022 recruiting class, which is now No. 18 in the country and fifth in the Big Ten. A top 25 recruiting class, which is not out of the question, would be a seismic shift for Indiana, which has never finished higher than 36th (2019) since 247 began ranking classes in 2000.
Payne missed much of his junior season of high school with a high-ankle sprain so there is less film on him than some other running backs in his class, but 247sports.com recruiting analyst Allen Trieu projects him as a future draft pick.
“One-cut-and-go back with good acceleration and has shown he can hit the home run against good competition,” Trieu wrote of Payne. “Would not classify as a big back, but is compact with a good muscle base as he heads into college. Prefers to hit the crease and go but when he needs to get creative, he shows some elusiveness and wiggle; solid pass catcher."
We'll know a lot more about Payne's potential future impact after seeing him play as a senior in high school, but he is yet another example of the step up in recruiting Indiana has taken since it achieved its first top 10 ranking in a half-century during the 2020 season and especially since new running backs coach Deland McCullough was hired in February. All four four-star recruits in the 2022 class have committed since McCullough was brought on board (one of them, Dasan McCullough, is the coach's son).