Indiana’s depth got even thinner at running back after sophomore Tim Baldwin, Jr. placed his name in the transfer portal.
National recruiting site Rivals appeared to be the first to report the news on Monday morning, and 247Sports soon followed. Indiana head coach Tom Allen confirmed the reports at a Monday morning press conference.
“He’ll no longer be part of our football team,” Allen said.
Allen was asked why Baldwin is transferring and his response was blunt. “You can ask Tim that question,” Allen said.
Baldwin fumbled in each of the last two games prior to Saturday, including a critical fourth quarter turnover against Cincinnati. He saw just one carry on Saturday night against Penn State. On the 2021 campaign Baldwin has 28 carries for 103 yards (3.7 average).
As a freshman with the Hoosiers in 2020, Baldwin carried 22 times for 141 yards (6.4 average) over three games. 106 of those yards came in a November game against Maryland.
Baldwin was a three-star recruit out of Nokesville (Va.) Patriot. According to the 247Sports Composite, he was the No. 985 overall prospect, the No. 63 running back and the No. 22 player in Virginia for the 2020 recruiting class.
Indiana also lost Sampson James to the transfer portal during fall camp. James is now with Purdue. It is unclear who will jump into the backup role behind starter Stephen Carr. Junior David Ellis is the most experienced back, but he has been dealing with a recurring ankle injury and has just three carries on the season.
True freshmen David Holloman (5 carries) and Trent Howland (no carries) are also options along with walk-ons Davion Ervin-Poindexter (8 carries), Chris Childers (7 carries) and Charlie Spegal (1 carry).
Holloman and Howland are complimentary backs IU likes long-term, but they will likely be pushed into action sooner than expected. Holloman is known for his speed, while Howland is more of the big, bruising type of runner. Howland had knee surgery during his senior year of high school, and his degree of readiness for this season is not clear.
Allen noted two from the running back room who he expects will see larger roles going forward.
“There is no doubt it effects our depth, without question,” Allen said of the Baldwin decision. … “David Holloman as a freshman will have opportunities to step into that role. Charlie Spegal, another young man that has been here in his second season, understands our system, big strong young man who has done a good job for us, so he’ll get his opportunity.”
IU’s entire three-deep on the running back depth chart from 2020 is now gone. Stevie Scott preceded the departures by James and Baldwin when he left early for the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Hoosiers currently have one running back in their recruiting class of 2022, Gi’Bran Payne, a 4-star from Cincinnati. They will likely look to the transfer portal for their own roster additions after the season and continue to recruit the position in the high school senior class.
Baldwin’s decision comes as Indiana enters a bye week.
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