After Almost Opting To Leave Ohio State, Mike Weber Is Reaping The Benefits Of Choosing To Stay

By Derrick Webb on September 4, 2018 at 8:31 pm
Mike Weber

He could've cashed a check, shook hands with Roger Goodell on a national stage and said goodbye to Columbus. But that's not where life decided to take Mike Weber.

With the option to enter the 2018 NFL Draft on the table this past spring, Weber decided against going pro. Instead, the junior running back chose to stay at Ohio State and he's now reaping the benefits of that choice.

Weber said he weighed the pros and cons of the decision extensively and that the cons revolved around not getting the carries he expected and not getting the opportunities he felt he deserved to be the game changer he's showed he can be.

Mike Weber's Career Statistics
2016 182 1,096 6.0 9 23 91 0
2017 101 626 6.2 10 10 94 0
2018 20 186 9.3 3 1 3 1

"It was really 50-50," he said. "I was thinking of the reasons why I should stay and why I should leave. I just feel like me staying ... there was more reasons to stay than to leave."

With both options weighing heavy on his mind, Weber had a heart-to-heart with Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.

"I feel like the conversation I had with coach Meyer made me feel comfortable to make my decision to come back," Weber said. "So far, it's been a good decision."

That's probably an understatement.

In his first game since making that decision, this past Saturday's 77-31 win over Oregon State, Weber ran for a career-high 186 yards on 20 carries. He also found the end zone on three occasions alongside a three-yard touchdown catch — the first touchdown reception of his career.

"I was doing a lot of that stuff in practice since I've been here," he said. "I just haven't had a chance to really ... I've had chances during a game (to have a breakout performance). I just hadn't yet."

After being named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year, Weber suffered an early season hamstring injury in 2017; one that nagged him throughout the year. That paved the way for true freshman J.K. Dobbins to have a big year.

Dobbins ran for 1,403 yards and seven touchdowns while Weber's numbers dipped. After posting 1,096 rushing yards as a freshman, he racked up just 626 as a sophomore. He also got the ball less, seeing his number of carries go from 182 to 101.

"It took me almost the whole season to get to how I felt before I got injured. I think, a few games, I had like three or four carries. I really just ... I wasn't myself. I eventually got going by the end of the year but by that time, the season was over with."

Those numbers certainly played a role in the conversation with Meyer.

"(Meyer) told me I had to come in and compete. Anywhere I go, I'm going to have to compete," Weber said. "If I go to the NFL, I'm going to have to compete. And that's what I want. I just want a chance to compete. He told me that with (former quarterback J.T. Barrett) not being here, there was going to be a bigger load on the running backs. That's all what I wanted to hear. If I get the chance to compete and the opportunity to get the ball, that's all I need."

He got that opportunity against Oregon State and it's certainly all he needed.

Speaking of Meyer, Weber said he stopped by the head coach's office when he returned to practice Monday. 

"It felt good. It was like he never left. (Practice) was the same. His head was forward and we didn't bring any of (the investigation details) up," Weber said. "His job is to coach and that's what he did."

He was then asked what Meyer's message to the team was upon his return.

"(Meyer) just told us his story of what happened for those of us who wasn't aware. But we were all aware. After that, he just moved forward and talked about football camp. He really didn't harp on (the investigation) at all. His whole demeanor was to just get past it."

Weber will get his next chance to dazzle in the Buckeyes' backfield this coming Saturday against an improved Rutgers team. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:40 p.m.

"Last year, Rutgers was pretty decent and they're better than they were last year. So they're getting better each year. They're doing a good job over there."

View 68 Comments