The Hurry Up: Alford Hire a Homerun, Evaluation Season Begins, Rene to Visit This Weekend

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 9, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Weber, Alabi and Webb could be Cass Tech's last Buckeye Players.

Welcome to The Hurry Up, which runs Sunday through Thursday, serving as your last stop for recruiting news and notes nightly. We'll recap the day as it happened and preview the days ahead while keeping our ear to the ground on the Ohio State recruiting scene.


It has now been one, two, three, four, five days since the big news that Stan Drayton was leaving Ohio State shocked the recruiting world and showcased once more why Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are evil incarnate (never you mind that Texas, UCLA, Notre Dame and other schools also had coaches leave immediately following NSD). Since then, we've seen exactly one official statement from Detroit Cass Tech's Mike Weber, who signed with the Buckeyes on signing day despite a strong push from the University of Michigan, one that nearly persuaded Weber to flip to the Maize and Blue in the final hours of his recruitment.

That tweet, from last Thursday afternoon, is the last thing we've seen from Weber publicly. He did "retweet" some words of encouragement from outside influences like Keyshawn Johnson, but it's been relative radio silence from the only person in the Michael Weber situation who should be talking about Michael Weber. Despite that undeniable fact, people from all over Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere have decided to chime in and give their opinion on what Weber thinks, feels and wants from this situation. His high school coach is upset that the Buckeyes didn't come direct with the possibility that Drayton could be leaving, his mom is upset that people keep talking about her son, lawyers in Michigan are upset, fans are upset, yada yada yada. 

Here's a novel idea: take a deep breath and get yourselves directly out of the life of an 18-year-old kid who You (the Royal you) know nothing about. Weber didn't pick Ohio State over Michigan because he was "afraid of competition." Weber didn't consider flipping back to the Wolverines because Ohio State's "depth scared him." He's a kid, from Michigan, who grew up rooting for the Wolverines but chose the Buckeyes because Ohio State was a better fit for his future. When he decommitted from Michigan in November, he was chastised and lambasted by people all over the The Mitten, called every name under the sun and now those very people who ripped him apart "have his back" on the internet? Yes, Ohio State let him down, and his frustration and anger with the situation was 100-percent justifiable. That said, how Weber decides to handle his career moving forward is a personal decision for he and his family to make. I know that social media is a wonderful thing — I wouldn't be in the position to stand upon this soap box if it didn't exist — but if you're one of those people incapable of expressing an opinion without demeaning and belittling a kid you know nothing about, you should consider keeping that opinion private. Be better than that, people.

Now, as far as actual Weber discussion, here's what I know. Ohio State has had communication with their prized signee. They've been in communication with his coach, Thomas Wilcher. As far as today, the Buckeyes do not feel they're in any danger of losing Mike Weber, or him asking out of his LOI, or anything else. He's upset, they've been working to resolve it. Two separate sources at Ohio State today suggested as much, and I've got no reason to doubt their feelings on the matter, because they'd certainly know if the situation was anything less than that.

I'd not be surprised to see a public statement from Weber soon, but if it doesn't happen, it's not an indicator that there's anything "wrong" or in the works. He's a private kid, was during his recruitment and is now that he's signed. What he wears to a workout doesn't matter at this point.

Weber is a Buckeye and is until he's not. Ignore the theatrics created by people trying to fulfill their own agendas, because right now anyone saying anything is just that.


One of the primary reasons to turn your concern level down about Mike Weber, is that the Buckeyes acted quickly to replace Drayton and swooped in to land Tony Alford, who handled the running backs at Notre Dame. Alford played running back at Colorado State at the same time Urban Meyer was an assistant coach for the Rams and has made a name for himself in the coaching ranks, starting his college coaching career at Mount Union in 1995. An assistant with the Irish since 2009, Alford last served as their running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, both of which make him an ideal fit to replace the departed Drayton.

"He's a family guy, down-to-earth, has a lot of energy," 2016 Viera, Florida wide receiver Tre Nixon said of Alford. "I actually talked to him yesterday."

Alford's hiring was well-received by Kareem Walker, the country's top running back recruit in 2016. Walker sent a text message Sunday afternoon to discuss the situation.

"The (Walker) situation is solidified with the hiring," one source at Ohio State shared. "He likes him a lot. Heck, Zeke (Buckeyes' sophomore tailback Ezekiel Elliott) is happy too, he almost went to play for him at Notre Dame."


With signing day over and done with, the recruiting calendar comes to a bit of a crawl in the next few months, as coaches are very limited in their ability to hit the road for recruiting purposes. Expect a steady wave of new offers from the Buckeyes to prospects all over the country in the next few weeks as we enter into evaluation time for Ohio State's coaching staff.

Yesterday, they offered 2016 wide receiver TJ Vasher, a 6-foot-5, 180-pounder from Wichita Falls, Texas' Rider High School. If the name of the school sounds familiar, it should: it's the alma mater of Ohio State's Heisman trophy candidate JT Barrett. 

"It was kind of out of the blue," the two-sport star said. "I wasn't expecting it."

The offer is Vasher's fifth for football, and he's another rangy wide receiver to earn a Buckeye offer for 2016. Expect Ohio State to be aggressive in finding two to three outside wide receivers in next year's class.


While the majority of the recruiting fireworks are over for the time being, the Buckeyes will have one key 2016 visitor on campus this weekend. 6-foot-1, 180-pound Patrice Rene, a recent transfer from Ottawa, Canada's St. Peter Catholic to Alexandria, Virginia. 

"I'm coming to Ohio State on Sunday," Rene told 11W. "Coach (Kerry) Coombs and I are real close."

Growing up in Canada, Rene found himself seeing a lot of Ohio State football, and because of that, the Buckeyes are one team he's always envisioned himself playing for. He told in October he's a big fan of what is happening in Columbus. Proximity means he also spent a good portion of time watching the Buckeyes closest rival.

"It would mean a lot to play for either one of them. As a little kid growing up in Canada, I just grew up watching both teams. I've already been to Ohio State multiple times, and I just fell in love with the entire school. I've been to Michigan a couple of times," he told the DC site. They have a great coaching staff. I think an offer should be coming soon from Michigan, depending on how this year goes. They're kind of struggling this year, but I still love Michigan and everything they have to offer. It would be just a great opportunity to play for both teams."

Ohio State will take their next shot at impressing the four star corner, the country's 25th-ranked player at his position, this weekend.

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