On Friday, Virginia picked up a three-star running back via transfer, someone Bronco Mendenhall eyed two years ago.
Ronnie Walker, a 5-foot-11 211-pounder from Hopewell High School near Richmond, announced he was coming back to his home state after playing at Indiana for two seasons. He will apply for a waiver to be immediately eligible. Whenever he starts playing, Walker will have two years of eligibility remaining.
As a Hoosier, Walker recorded 59 carries for 221 yards (3.7 ypc) with two touchdowns, both scored in 2018. In 2019, he also caught 12 passes for 112 yards and a score. His playing time was eaten into by the emergence of Stevie Scott, a 6-2, 231-pound behemoth who entered the Hoosiers program with Walker in 2018. Scott has compiled 20 rushing TDs and almost 2,000 yards in two years, including a 31-carry, 204-yard performance against Virginia when Indiana beat the Cavaliers 20-16 in a rainstorm in 2018.
Walker originally signed with Indiana over a number of ACC schools, including UVa, Virginia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, and Syracuse, and Michigan State was also on his offer list.
Walker’s commitment comes at a good time for Virginia, because rising senior running backs PK Kier and Lamont Atkins left the program in February. They combined for 47 attempts, 252 yards, and two touchdowns in 2019, so though their workload wasn’t heavy, they provided good, experienced depth. That’s why it would be a bonus for Walker to become eligible in 2020. Possible backfield fill-ins RJ Harvey and Seneca Milledge also aren't returning.
In 2019, rising junior Wayne Taulapapa was the bell cow (if Virginia really had one, since Bryce Perkins was such a major portion of the offense), with 116 carries for 486 yards and 12 touchdowns. Rising sophomore Mike Hollins tallied 21 carries for 112 yards and three scores as a true freshman.