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Indiana junior running back Stevie Scott declared for the NFL Draft on Friday, shaking up the Hoosiers’ offensive plans for 2021.

“After much prayer and discussions with my family, I will forego my senior season and enter the 2021 NFL Draft,” Scott wrote in a Twitter post. “I am eager to pursue my dreams of playing in the NFL, but I will be a Hoosier for life.”

This is only somewhat surprising because of Scott’s production in 2020. He gained 581 yards, which ranked fourth in the Big Ten, but it came on a 3.6-yard-per-carry average. In his record-setting freshman season in 2018, Scott averaged 5 yards per carry behind a more veteran line. That number fell to 4.7 as a sophomore.

Regardless, Scott is a second-team All-Big Ten selection with 562 collegiate carries under his belt, a number rushers have to be cognizant of as they gauge when to move on. Scott also does offer 6-foot-2, 231-pound frame and an aggressive, downhill style to match. He’s proven to be a better-than-average pass protector, as well, which should serve him well at the next level. Scott was never shy about expressing the NFL as his ultimate goal.

Also, if Scott returned in 2021, he would have been playing for a new running backs coach. This week, Mike Hart accepted the same position at his alma mater, Michigan. Hart was central in Scott’s recruitment to IU because they have a mutual background in Syracuse, N.Y. Scott was a Rutgers commit before Hart flipped him.

Scott certainly had a productive career in cream and crimson. He is one of just three Hoosiers to score 10 or more rushing touchdowns in three straight season, joining with Anthony Thompson and Antwaan Randel El. His 30 career touchdowns rank fourth all-time at IU, behind Thompson (67), Randel El (44), and Levron Williams (31). His 2,543 career rushing yards rank ninth all-time.

For the Hoosiers, Scott’s exit does force others to step up in the running back room. But there are options. Sampson James, a four-star recruit out of Avon, rushed for 275 yards as a freshman, and his total was just 96 yards on 32 carries as a sophomore. He will now have an opportunity to seize the No. 1 running back role.

IU also could give more carries to fellow sophomore David Ellis, who moved from receiver to full-time running back in 2020. A freshman, Tim Baldwin Jr., also produced when called upon, including 16 carries for 106 yards in a win over Maryland.

IU has now lost two non-seniors to the NFL Draft, Scott and safety Jamar Johnson. Otherwise, it’s seniors in Whop Philyor (receiver), Jerome Johnson (defensive tackle), and Harry Crider (offensive lineman) who have also decided to pursue the NFL route in 2021.

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