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Indiana just stole the school’s best recruit in modern history from Ohio State a day after losing to them

Was someone in Avon watching another valiant Indiana effort that came up short in Columbus and seeing potential? Perhaps. The Avon star becomes Indiana’s biggest pickup in recent memory.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours ago, Ohio State held off a punching-up Indiana — much the way we’ve seen what feels like hundreds of times this decade. Today, Indiana’s finally got a different sort of win over the Buckeyes on the gridiron.

Sampson James, the 10th best running back in the entire 2019 class, will stay home and be an Indiana Hoosier — flipping from his longtime Ohio State commitment. The Avon back becomes Indiana’s highest-rated recruit ever in the modern recruiting rankings era.

This is a, um, big f***ing deal, as one might say. And it’s not the normal situation where Indiana lands a recruit from a bigger school — where scholarship issues might be at play.

It seems Ohio State still really, really wanted James — because he visited the school just yesterday.

Indiana must have worked some magic, or something, while James was in Columbus watching the Hoosiers take on the Buckeyes. Here’s reporting from Ohio State beat writer Jeremy Birmingham:

According to sources close to the recruitment, James informed Ohio State of his intentions to reopen his recruitment hours after leaving campus, apparently catching the coaching staff off-guard. His rational? That’s a private matter and ultimately it doesn’t matter.

That’s strange, and maybe it’s possible another reason emerged as to why James would want to stay closer to home. But it’s a hell of a flip for Indiana to steal a kid from out from under Urban Meyer & Co. when it’s one they actually, really wanted.

We’ll update shortly with more as we the why behind the decision emerges.