Hello: Mike Weber

Submitted by Ace on August 7th, 2014 at 10:23 AM


Presumably after crossing the goal line [via 247]

If you missed the news last night, four-star Cass Tech running back Mike Weber committed to Michigan, and the way it went down instantly found its rightful place in Hilarious Recruiting Victories Over Michigan State lore. Weber was slated to visit East Lansing on Wednesday afternoon; instead, this happened:

“The environment and the way I felt about it when I was down there, and the way they see me in the backfield, and having a degree from Michigan would set me up, and having my whole family be able to come watch me, I just made the move,” Weber reeled off.

Weber instead visited Michigan after "oversleeping," and missing his trip to East Lansing.

The quotation marks make that last statement 1000 times better.

The commitment capped a huge effort on Michigan's part to get back into Weber's good graces—spearheaded by Doug Nussmeier, Chris Singletary, and Alex Malzone—over the last several months. The Spartans led the way for much of that span, but in the end the U-M coaches made Weber feel like he was their top priority at running back, which Weber justifiably felt he wasn't when Damien Harris was the main focus at the position.

In the last couple weeks, Michigan's secured the top two 2015 in-state recruits—receiver Brian Cole being the other—both of whom were considered Spartan leans for quite some time. Let's check in with the RCMB...

Don't be so hard on yourself, JARGON. I'm sure you'll get that fifth star before long.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #13 RB,
#104 Ovr
4*, #10 RB,
#103 Ovr
4*, 82, #14 RB,
#169 Ovr
4*, 94, #13 RB,
#144 Ovr
4*, #14 RB,
#115 Ovr

There's a pretty solid consensus on Weber's talent, as all four sites have him in the 10-14 range on their running back position rankings and well within the top 200 overall prospects.

They're also in relative agreement about his size, listing him at either 5'9" or 5'10" and 205-210 pounds. He measured in at 5'10", 205 at a recent Rivals camp; he's very much got the compact, sturdy frame of a running back.

SCOUTING

Weber came to Cass Tech with high expectations after an outstanding youth football career, but had to wait to make an impact after losing his freshman season to injury. That impact would come as a sophomore in 2012, when he passed older, more experienced backs Deon Drake and Gary Hosey to earn the bulk of the carries for the Technicians. Despite being limited by a hamstring injury early in the season, he'd rush for 1700 yards and 21 TDs, then led the way in Cass Tech's second straight state title game victory over Catholic Central:

Running back [Mike] Weber came into his own for Cass Tech, amassing 186 yards on 20 carries and helping the Technicians to keep the ball and clock moving throughout the second half. Weber averaged 9.3 yards per rush and Catholic Central never seemed to find a solution for him.

The highlights from that game, which feature several current or future Wolverines, show off Weber's ability to turn the corner:

Weber's scouting reports are remarkably in line with each other, calling him a well-rounded back who can play on every down, and while he lacks track star speed or Hyde-ian power he possesses a lot of the same skills as Mike Hart. Here's ESPN's underclassman eval ($):

STRENGTHS: A solid runner with a low center of gravity. Displays the ability to push the pile and gain the tough yards. A powerful back with great playing strength. Runs with good lean and a high knee action allowing him to break arm tackles. Flashes a nice burst and adequate top-end speed. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Will benefit from improving elusiveness in the open field and enhancing his playmaking ability. Not a burner that will consistently win footraces against elite opponents. Can be a short stepper with slight hip tension. ... BOTTOM LINE: Weber is an decisive runner with every down potential . A true load carrier type of back who projects well in physical running attack. His short stature and lower body strength are assets.

Scout's profile lists cutback ability, hands, and vision as strengths, with power his lone area to improve, and echoes the "complete back" sentiment:

Weber is a compact back who runs with good patience. He is a slasher with a good burst and good acceleration. He catches the ball well out of the backfield and also does a nice job in pass protection. He has run largely out of the shotgun in high school and would have to adjust if he goes to more of a traditional I-form team in college. He's shown the ability to run between the tackles but is not a true power back. - Allen Trieu

Trieu elaborated on Weber's running ability in Scout's free commitment capsule:

As far as long speed, he may not be a 4.3 type track star, but is capable of running away from defenders and getting the corner. However, he's at his best between the tackles. ... While he may not be known as a power back, he runs hard, runs with attitude and finishes his runs. In the open field, he's more of a straight ahead guy than a make you miss type elusive runner.

247's Clint Brewster also says that Weber doesn't quite possess that extra gear in the open field, saying instead that he has "more deceptive speed," and he agrees with Trieu that Weber's power is overlooked ($):

Weber has a sense of urgency, as he presses the line of scrimmage but also has the vision to find the cut back lane. He has very good short-area-quickness and can burst through a small crease if space is available. He has great overall strength and can really push the pile. Weber has a good stiff-arm and breaks a lot of tackles. He is always falling forward after a run. Weber has a low center of gravity and does a good job of lowering his pad level to take on blockers and keeps his legs moving to gain extra yards.

Weber's all-around ability surfaced wherever he went, whether playing for Cass Tech or performing against top national competition on the camp circuit. Rivals' Josh Helmholdt named Weber the top offensive performer at last year's Prep Kickoff Classic after he scored twice against a Southfield squad featuring Lawrence Marshall and Malik McDowell ($):

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Weber picked up where he left off as a sophomore when he was an offensive catalyst for Cass Tech's Division I state title. Weber scored touchdowns on a 30-yard screen pass in the first half and a 16-yard run in the second half. If possible, he looked even more explosive than he did a year ago. Weber has always shown great start-and-stop ability, and he gets to top speed instantly. His size and speed make him a threat between the tackles and on the edge

After an excellent junior campaign, Weber has really impressed this spring and summer. He was the clear choice for top performer at the RCS Detroit, according to Adam Friedman ($):

Weber was virtually unguardable during the one-on-one period. The Rivals250 member is extremely agile and can change directions on a dime. Weber ran extremely crisp routes and had very good hands. He wasn't afraid to take on the bigger linebackers that tried to knock him off his routes. Weber's ability to turn a short catch into a long reception is outstanding.

That performance eventually earned him the #5 spot on Rivals' list of top running backs at all of their Rivals Camp Series events ($).

Sam Webb was in attendance for The Opening, where Weber once again showed off his versatility ($):

On day one his ability to make moves in the open field was showcasedOn day two he showed himself to be a dangerous receiving threat out of the backfield.  Early in 7-on-7 action his QBs looked to him only as an outlet.  He rewarded them with some chain-moving grabs on swing passes and crossing routes. They ignored him on the wheel-route though, and that was a mistake.  Weber ran by safeties all day long on the route but the QB just wouldn’t look his way.  He grew increasingly frustrated but never loafed on route.  Then finally on one of the late games he broke open down the sideline and Josh Rosen looked in his direction.  Rosen laid the ball up perfectly for Mikey to run under and it was hauled in for six.

Scout national analyst Jamie Newberg was duly impressed ($):

“Weber I thought was tremendous,” said Scout national recruiting analyst Jamie Newburg. “I loved him on film. After I got our here, he is more of a compact running back with great explosiveness. Put together a little better than Damien Harris, our number one running back in the country. He catches the ball exceptionally well. He is terrific in space. He is not committed yet, but someone up in the Midwest in Big Ten country is going to get themselves a one heck of a running back. He is ultra quick, very good speed and very versatile, cause obviously he can run and he showed out here he can catch the football.”

I'll give the last word to The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan, who's probably seen Weber in game action more than the rest of these scouts combined (save perhaps Trieu). He believes Weber is an ideal fit for Michigan's offense under Doug Nussmeier ($):

Weber is an outstanding fit for the zone running scheme, a one-cut back who has the acceleration to plant his foot in the turf when he sees a hole and run to daylight. He is a very nice physical specimen - a testament to his natural talent and also his work ethic - who has power and speed. He is still developing a killer's mentality when it comes to running over defenders, but he has enough quickness in the hole and pure speed to make that a less important factor.

To sum it up, Weber is an every-down back who can run outside or between the tackles, possesses the acceleration to get the corner and enough speed to make his share of big plays, isn' t the easiest back to bring down, catches the ball well out of the backfield, and he's a willing blocker to boot. His vision and style should play very well in Michigan's zone running scheme, as well.

OFFERS

Weber held offers from Illinois, Kentucky, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, NC State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, USC, and Wisconsin when he pledged to Michigan. Alabama and Notre Dame, among others, reportedly showed interest.

HIGH SCHOOL

Please don't make me list all the Cass Tech people.

STATS

According to 247, Weber rushed for 1700 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore, then followed that up with 1659 yards and 24 scores in 2013.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals hand-timed (I believe) Weber at 4.47 seconds in the 40 at one of their camps, which gets three FAKEs out of five; since it's a hand time, add a tenth of a second or two and you're probably in the right range.

VIDEO

Junior highlights:

Sophomore reel that leans too heavily on slow-mo but I'm a sucker for a highlight tape soundtracked by M83:

Single-game cut-ups of Weber's performance last season against Southfield, courtesy of Maize & Blue News:

His between-the-tackles burst is really impressive.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Weber should be afforded a redshirt year with Justice Hayes, Derrick Green, De'Veon Smith, Ty Isaac, Drake Johnson, and Ross Douglas all possessing at least a year of eligibility left when he gets on campus; that is, if he doesn't earn a spot in the running back rotation right away, which wouldn't be unusual for a freshman with his talent level.

By his second year on campus, he should be competing for carries, and by 2017—when Green and Smith will have exhausted their eligibility, as well as Hayes the year prior—he'll be in the mix for a starting role; he'll be the presumed starter if Ty Isaac gets a waiver to play this fall, though that seems unlikely. Even if Isaac sits out this year, Weber is a different type of back and should garner plenty of playing time before taking over the starting roll full-time as an upperclassman.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Weber is Michigan's 10th commit in the 2015 class and the lone running back in the group. We're projecting three open spots right now, with defensive end, outside linebacker, and perhaps another offensive linemen presenting the biggest areas of need. CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, NC SDE Darian Roseboro, and IN OLB Asmar Bilal are probably the top prospects on Michigan's board at the moment.

Comments

pearlw

August 7th, 2014 at 10:44 AM ^

Ace..I disagree with your count of remaining scholarships. You state there are 3 scholarships left before attrition while I think there are 0 left before attrition. Since your 3 number is in line with what shows up in the "Depth Chart by Class" table on this website, I will address the differences between my count and that table:

1) Scott Sypniewski - He is on scholarship while you have him as walkon. All commitment posts and the recruiting websites indicate that he is on scholarship.

2) Sophomore Class MisCount: You list 27 scholarship players in sophomore eligibility class but your number at bottom is only 26. I think mistake comes from when someone added Ty Isaac to list but didnt update the count at the bottom to add the 1 scholarship.

3) Joe Kerridge - This is a judgement call but you have him as walkon and I am considering him as scholarship. My reasoning is both Kerridge and G Glasgow were former walkons who received scholarships last year and started last year. Therefore, I think you should treat them the same in your count. You have G Glasgow as now on scholarship but Kerridge as still walk on. I agree that I am making a judgement call on this one and you are likely doing the same.

Based on those 3 changes, I see 0 scholarships (or 1 if you disagree on how I treat Kerridge) remaining before attrition. Attrition would include players transferring/leaving or guys that will be 5th year seniors next year not choosing (or being asked) to come back for 5th year.

pearlw

August 7th, 2014 at 11:11 AM ^

Ha...it is 2 in a row now you are right. Just trying to get it fixed as I see it referenced often and at other places and assumed this would be most likely location to get it done.

I think it would give a different perspective on what is going on with recruiting right now as numbers are alot tighter than most think if they use/reference the other numbers.

To add something new to conversation this time, I will bring up the issue people always raise about whether certain 5th yr guys wont be asked back next year which would affect the count. Here are the guys who would be 5th yr players next year if they come back:
Bellomy, Hayes, Kerridge, G Glasgow, Countess, Heitzman, Miller

TenThousandThings

August 7th, 2014 at 2:30 PM ^

He doesn't state "there are 3 scholarships left before attrition" -- he states "we're projecting three open spots right now" -- so you can take the lack of a response to be an indication that he has done his own count and he means what he says.

Yes, the Sypniewski and the miscount errors should be corrected, but I don't think you can make the assumption that Ace is basing two-thirds of his projection on those errors.

pearlw

August 7th, 2014 at 3:21 PM ^

He didnt use the phrase "before attrition" in this post but he has made it clear that was what he meant in previous posts including the one two weeks ago when Brian Cole committed. See below from the Hello post from Brian Cole:

Ace wrote: "Cole's versatility also gives Michigan some flexibility in filling out the dwindling number of spots remaining in the 2015 class (we project four remaining open scholarships, with the usual caveat that the number should rise with normal attrition)."

So from that, he clearly was saying at the time (less than 2 weeks ago) there were four open scholarships once Cole committed plus additional due to attrition which lined up exactly with the incorrect depth chart by class. Now Weber commits and he says there are 3 which makes it reasonable to assume he is still talking before attrition.

TenThousandThings

August 7th, 2014 at 6:07 PM ^

I obviously don't know, but I think probably your interpretation of "attrition" is different from Ace's (and MGoBlog's) -- they don't include the coaches' decision about 5th years in that. So they are currently "projecting" however many players not getting 5th years as needed to leave 3 spots open in the class.

Attrition here would mean injuries or players who leave the program for whatever reason, but not because the coaches are managing their roster as they see fit. I don't think a 5th year is ever understood as a sure thing -- that is made very clear to the players, and they are strongly encouraged to graduate on time.

Another possibility is that there is insider information driving that number, which would explain the silence.

Space Coyote

August 7th, 2014 at 10:44 AM ^

A top 150 type back, with some improvement could be a top 100 player but I don't think he's there yet. In tight spaces he does a great job getting behind his shoulder pads and punishing tacklers, getting extra yards in the process. Does a good job getting low and bringing his shoulder pads, legs, and feet with him. Has excellent burst in and out of cuts where he can get vertical immediately. Has good vision, and from all accounts has good hands as well.

He does need to improve in two areas I feel to take the next step, both of which apply in the open field: he needs a bit better open field speed, his burst is great but doesn't consistently run away from defenders when he gets into the open field; and he needs better feet and balance in the open field. You see several times on the sideline he burst up the sideline like he's shot out of a cannon, but he doesn't seem to have the feet or core strength to maintain his balance. He allows defenders to get into his feet and trip him up a bit in the open field as well. If he improves his balance, a lot of those 15-25 yard gains turn into TDs a the high school level.

FWIW: after Scott committed to MSU, MSU was supposedly recruiting Weber for their Flex position. Last year, RJ Sheldon played that role, mostly as a RB, but this year is more of a WR. It's the Keshawn Martin role. So that gives you some feel for his burst and hands, that MSU felt he fit best into that role.

He should fit very well into a zone blocked scheme at Michigan, and for how Nuss likes to utilize RBs out of the backfield.

reshp1

August 7th, 2014 at 10:48 AM ^

Not a lot not to like about all this. The Sparty 'freude is great, and we're getting heck of a back. I love his quickness and ability to fall forward (HS competition caveats aside). The proverbial "runs angry" applies here I think. We're quickly amassing an embarrassment of riches at the RB position, reading your prediction section and seeing all the talent in front of him makes me pretty happy.

Space Coyote

August 7th, 2014 at 11:10 AM ^

I just don't think anyone really knows much about him because he doesn't talk to the media. Therefore, no one knows who he's getting more attention from, where he's leaning, etc. It's an old school recruitment, how it was done before the internet recruiting craze became real. This doesn't surprise me being the kid of a football coach, particularly one that was a recent college football coach. College football coaches often prefer that way of recruiting.

turd ferguson

August 7th, 2014 at 11:08 AM ^

I'm really excited about Weber.  Very nice pick-up.

I'd like to see another OL in this class.  It makes me nervous to have only four OL across the 2014 and 2015 classes, especially with OL being a tough spot to project and a couple of our 2014/2015 guys being either under-the-radar (Runyan) or boom/bust types (JBB).  Our 2013 OL class was big and most of them redshirted, so the situation could be much worse, but the past couple of years have me thinking that OL's not the spot to play with fire.

True Blue Grit

August 7th, 2014 at 11:28 AM ^

If we won't pull in another OL in this class, I'd say 2016 will need to be a strong class for that position given the 2012 guys will be at or nearing the end of their eligibility.  And like most positions, there is always attrition to worry about.  Still, I'm not pressing the panic button yet.  I don't think we'll ever (God forbid) get back to a situation like the disaster at OL following the RR era. 

woodfeld

August 7th, 2014 at 11:42 AM ^

Given the Swenson commit, Bredeson and Yarbrough looking solidly possible, and under the radar Michael Jordan (who I would imagine will blow up given immediate offers from UM and OSU after seeing him in camp), I'd say M is sitting pretty well for the 2016 OL class at the moment.  It does appear they are mostly going after OT's though.  Maybe Bredeson is a OG since he's listed at 6'4".

Side question - is M strongly going after the 2 highly rated Ohio OL (Kraemer and Eichenberg)?  I was reading that ND may lead for both.

dahblue

August 7th, 2014 at 11:18 AM ^

Folks will know better than I, but I recall recruiting gurus saying that Weber wasn't far off from Harris (level of talent) after The Opening and that he would be expected to jump in the rankings.  Am I wrong on that recollection?

004

August 7th, 2014 at 11:42 AM ^

Despite a string of good news there seems to be a severe lack of Kate on the board recently. What gives?

Brian Cole ----> definitely Kate worthy ( a top instate kid choosing the good guys over MSU)

Mike Weber ----> yup yup!

Duncan Robinson ----> maybe, can't underestimate the power of Crazy Subs

Adam Schnepp ----> well, let's not get carried away

Seth

August 7th, 2014 at 11:57 AM ^

When did Cass Tech's cheer become "We ARE!" "Cass Tech!"?

It used to be "Go Cass!" "KICK ASS!"

And I thought that was one of the cooler high school cheers. Mumford's was even better:

"Say what's your name?" "Say Mustangs!"
"Say what's your name?" "Say Mustangs!"
"Say what's your name?" "Say Mustangs!"

"Gonna Live and Die for Mumford High!"

"Mustangs in the front" "Hey hey hey"
"Let me hear you grunt" "[grunt] [grunt] [grunt]"
"Mustangs in the middle" "Hey hey hey"
"Let me hear you giggle!" "teeeheee hee hee"
"Never in the rear" "No no no"
"Let me hear you cheer!"

"Say what's your name?"
"Say MUSTANGS!"

 

MGoManDown

August 7th, 2014 at 12:35 PM ^

I may be in the minority here, but I always prefered Weber as opposed to Harris after watching film on them both. Dont get me wrong. I would've loved to have Harris also, but I'm not disappointed at all with us getting Weber. I'm nowhere near an expert on these things, but judging by film, Harris is much more elusive and seems to have much more open field speed than Weber, but Weber is more of a bruiser. Harris strikes me as more of an "avoid contact but drag a defender if I have to" type of back, whereas Weber is more of an "if you're going to tackle me, I'm going to make you feel it!" type. Both are good in their own right, but I like Mike.

Caveman Bob

August 7th, 2014 at 2:36 PM ^

This sounds right. Harris is much faster, but Weber has shown a lot more power and balance between the tackles. Weber is a better fit for the Michigan offense, but Harris would have been a better complement to the other bruising between-the-tackles backs we already have on the roster.

Hail-Storm

August 7th, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

Thought the "Mike Hart" comparison might just be hyperbole, but wow did some of his runs look like Hart when he was in traffic. He gets down low and puts his hands on the ball till he's free.  I'd be very pleased if he can run like Hart did in college.  Top speed isn't important if you can't get to the position to need it. Looks like agreat pickup especially if we run the zone blocking.

IndyBlue90

August 7th, 2014 at 1:18 PM ^

I think Weber brings some of the best attributes of both Deveon Smith and Derrick Green. 
From Smith he has good leg drive, stiff arm and ability to deliver a blow rather than receive it. From Green he has great acceleration, decent to good long speed, little cuts that make it hard for opponents to hit you head on. I think he has better speed to the edge than either of those guys and maybe better vision than either. Obviously, both those guys have a little bit more developed frames than Weber, as they are both in the 220 range.

Ron Utah

August 7th, 2014 at 3:51 PM ^

Weber appears to have excellent vision.  This is hard to see on film, but from the clips presented, he has the best vision of any RB commit I've seen in the past few years.  If he can get his body ready, he could play as a freshman

I'm very, very excited about this pick-up.  Welcome to the family, Mr. Weber!

GO BLUE!

UofM626

August 7th, 2014 at 9:27 PM ^

That our boy Wheatley is not gonna end up going Blue! His recruitment is taking some time and I'm thinking he may not be all enamored with us like we are with him.

Just my opinion