The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers today as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent. Signing Day is here.
Eleven Warriors would like to officially welcome Mike Weber to the Ohio State football program.
The Weber File
- Class 2015
- Position RB
- Size 5-10/220
- School Cass Tech (Detroit, MI)
- Composite ★★★★
- Rank 9 (RB)
The second-ranked player in Michigan is supposed to play football in Ann Arbor, especially if he hails from Detroit. So, when Mike Weber committed to Michigan in August, it was not much of a surprise. After all, the other programs he was most interested in — Ohio State and Michigan State — were involved with other running backs that were highly respected in the region.
But the Weber story was never that cut-and-dried. Ohio State offered the four-star tailback very early in the process, and it was an opportunity that carried a lot of weight for Weber. The Buckeyes had recently received a commitment from his close friend and Cass Tech teammate Damon Webb, and although he already had an offer from Michigan, the chance to be a Buckeye was intriguing.
"Damon and I have a close relationship," Weber told Eleven Warriors in April of 2013 following a trip to Columbus. "Damon always tells me that if I want to win championships I should come to Ohio State. [The visit] was a really cool experience. The facilities I saw were sick. The fans and coaches also showed me a lot of love. It was a very good visit. They are very well organized and everything around there is about winning."
As Weber's recruitment cranked up, it was clear that he'd be a priority for Ohio State and vice versa. He visited Ohio State a number of times — as he did Michigan, Michigan State and others — but continued to hold off on a college choice; choosing instead to watch the dominos fall. The first domino was Hubbard, Ohio's LJ Scott, who committed to Michigan State. The second, Weber and many presumed, was that Damien Harris, the country's top-ranked running back, was going to commit to Ohio State at some point and at that point Weber made his pledge to the Wolverines, a place he was incredibly comfortable, that was close to home (important for a described homebody as he is) and where had tight personal relationships with running backs coach Fred Jackson.
As the Wolverines struggled to win football games on the field and rumors about the future of their coaching staff picked up, Weber's status with Michigan seemed to be up in the air. On November, 22nd, a week before Ohio State would host Brady Hoke and the Wolverines, Weber re-opened his recruitment and was officially back on the market.
I'm decommiting from the university of Michigan thank you Michigan for the love and support I'll remake my decision at the army bowl
— Mike Weber (@mikeweber25) November 22, 2014
Within days of that decision, new offers from Georgia, Notre Dame and Alabama muddied the waters a bit and Weber considered a number of visits before making a new choice.
Around the same, it became more and more clear that Ohio State would not be landing Damien Harris, and with that came an opportunity for Weber to make a business decision. He committed to Ohio State on December 10th, two days after Urban Meyer, Kerry Coombs and Stan Drayton visited him and his parents in Detroit.
After committing to Ohio State, that's when the fun really began. Weber was a pariah in Michigan for abandoning the floundering Wolverines. Still, when Michigan hired folk hero Jim Harbaugh, it was clear Weber would be the priority for Harbaugh, who would need to keep Michigan's top running back not only home, but more importantly away from Ohio State. Rumors swirled as they do, Weber shut down the media as he usually did, but nothing concrete about his feelings emerged one way or the other.
With a week and a half before signing day, Weber made a weekend-long visit to Ohio State as the Buckeyes celebrated their national championship win, the first visit he'd made since Harbaugh's hiring. The next week, Harbaugh took his final shot at Weber but the Wolverines came up short, and today Weber is a Buckeye. The US Army All-American explained to the Detroit News that he was happy to meet Harbaugh, but had no doubts about his choice.
"I grew up a Michigan fan and it's always been a school I wanted to go to, play for, and that's why I made my decision to go there early," Weber said. "But when it went downhill and they lost Brady Hoke and didn't know who they would bring in, I committed to Ohio State. Then they hired (Jim) Harbaugh, but I was pretty solid on Ohio State because I wanted to try something different.
"I talked to Coach Harbaugh a few times and he's a real energized guy, a cool guy," Weber added. "I think he understands (why I'm going to Ohio State). He just wanted to get to know me."