Indiana lost a key member of its class of 2022 this week.
4-star running back Gi’Bran Payne announced on his social media accounts he has been granted a release from his national letter of intent with Indiana, and has reopened his recruitment.
Earlier this year former IU running backs coach Deland McCullough announced he was leaving the program to take the same position at Notre Dame. That may have played a role in Payne’s decision.
“As a person (and athlete), I thrive and prosper off of communication and genuine relationships,” Payne wrote in his statement announcing the release.
“With that said, I am looking to explore my options to make sure I am making the best decision for me and my future.”
The 5-foot-10 and 190 pound Payne is a Cincinnati product from La Salle High School. He is a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals). He is ranked as the No. 262 prospect nationally and the No. 24 running back nationally by 247Sports.
A smaller, speedy back, Payne rushed for 1,299 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career at LaSalle after dealing with injuries and splitting carries. He was not an early enrollee with IU, and thus not currently participating in spring practice.
Indiana head coach Tom Allen was asked about Payne’s decision at a previously scheduled media availability on Tuesday.
“That’s a decision he and his family made. We wish him well and we’re moving on,” Allen said.
“We want guys who want to be here.”
At the very end of the early signing period, Indiana added another back with a similar skillset in Louisiana running back Jaylin Lucas. He enrolled early and is now the lone running back in Indiana’s 2022 class.
Without Payne the Hoosiers project to have six scholarship running backs on the 2022 roster.
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