BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Stephen Carr was one of the best running backs in the country in the Class of 2017, and it was USC that won the heated recruiting battle for the five-star standout from Fontana, Calif.
With one year of eligibility remaining, Carr entered the NCAA's transfer portal on Tuesday, and several reports say that Indiana is a potential landing spot for the 6-foot-215-pound back who has rushed for 1,329 yards and 13 touchdowns during his career.
Indiana has never had a five-star football recruit before.
The reason for that is because current Indiana running backs coach and associate head coach Deland McCullough used to coach Carr as a freshman before joining the Kansas City Chiefs for three seasons. McCullough was hired by Tom Allen at Indiana in February.
In a report on Rivals.com, Indiana was mentioned along with Baylor, Arizona and Pittsburgh as a potential landing spot for Carr.
“He brings experience and talent, and with that the initial reaction from schools has been positive, with Indiana, Baylor, Arizona and Pittsburgh being a few that have taken an active approach in his recruitment,” recruiter reporter Mike Ferrell wrote.
Running back depth is a modest concern at Indiana. Three-year starter Stevie Scott left early for the pros, and signed an undrafted free agent deal with the New Orleans Saints. Indiana doesn't release a depth chart in the spring, but if they did, sophomore Sampson James would be No. 1, with freshman Tim Baldwin behind him.
Neither back got much work last year. James had 96 yards on 32 carries, and Baldwin had 141 yards on 22 carries. David Ellis, who plays both running back and receiver, was the only other back with any carries. He had 16 rushes for 61 yards, but was used mostly in the passing game. He had 11 catches for 137 yards a year ago.
James, a four-star recruit from Avon High School, had a huge impact on the 2019 Old Oaken Bucket game, filling in for the injured Scott. He had 118 yards on 22 carries in the Hoosiers' 44-41 double overtime win. He rushed for 275 yards that season.
Carr is the second USC running back to transfer this spring. Former Trohan Markese Stepp transferred to Nebraska in April, according to All Trojans, our Sports Illustrated sister site in Los Angele.s
Carr started six games during his career at USC, but saw time all four years in the Trojans' loaded backfield. He came to USC as the No. 3-ranked running back in the country in 2017, and the No. 20 overall prospect, but has never had a chance to be the featured back.
His decision to enter the portal might have been sped up by the arrival of Texas transfer Keaontay Ingram, who would be looking for added carries as well.
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