Sunday, November 23, 2014

Michael Weber, Ex-Wolverine

Michael Weber
Detroit (MI) Cass Tech running back Michael Weber decommitted from Michigan on Saturday afternoon. Or at least he made it public, via his Twitter account. Weber is a 247 Composite 4-star, the #13 running back, and #113 overall in the 2015 class. As a senior this season, he ran for over 2,000 yards during Cass Tech's run to the state semifinals.

Weber had committed to the Wolverines back in August over offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, USC, and Wisconsin, among others. Almost immediately he mentioned that he still wanted to visit other schools, and I have been saying all along that I did not trust his commitment. Of course, Michigan fans shouldn't hold it against a kid when he sees the coach who recruited him sitting on the hottest of hot seats. It's practically a foregone conclusion that head coach Brady Hoke will be replaced sometime in the coming weeks, so it's understandable that he would want to explore his options.

Hit the jump for thoughts on the position going forward.

This leaves Michigan in a somewhat precarious position. Destined to be a small class, anyway (Hoke said the biggest he thought it would get is 16, but that seemed high), the Wolverines are down to seven commitments for 2015. Weber is also the seventh  2015 recruit to renounce his commitment to Michigan, which is an absurdly high number. Furthermore, he is the second consecutive running back recruit to decommit, following Kentucky's Damien Harris. Michigan does have decent numbers at running back with five guys there (Justice Hayes, Drake Johnson, De'Veon Smith, Derrick Green, and Ty Isaac) and a few others (Ross Douglas, Dennis Norfleet, Wyatt Shallman) who could fill a role. Michigan doesn't absolutely need a running back in the class, but Hoke has said previously that he wants to take "a couple" backs in every class; you generally want those types of players because they can sometimes play receiver, safety, linebacker, cornerback, and special teams. If they do not take one in 2015, then that makes the running back position a priority in 2016.

Late in the class, the easiest guys to pull in are lower rated guys from within the state, or at least within the region. We have seen Michigan do that in recent years when they nabbed Thomas Rawls in 2011 and Dennis Norfleet in 2012. Unfortunately, there are few options in the 2015 class. Oak Park (MI) Oak Park's John Kelly played running back in high school and has been offered by Michigan as a defensive back, but he was leaning toward Michigan State or Minnesota, and he is good friends with Weber. Auburn Hills (MI) Avondale's Joshuwa Holloman is a genuine speedster committed to Cincinnati, but he lacks great running instincts. Other options include 247 Composite 2-stars Romello Ross (committed to CMU), Alex Grace (WMU), and Bobby Banks (CMU).


  1. On the positive side - RB isn't really a significant need for this team. They have 4 quality backs returning next year, and you can often recruit a guy and plug him in immediately at the position. If you can get Weber back in the fold later, fantastic, but I'd hate to see them go out on a limb for another Hopkins or Rawls, just to fill the position.

    I've never bought into Hoke's recruiting mentality at this position at all. At least not until the program is stable at other need positions (QB, OL, TE, WR, DE). Maybe if you're Wisconsin you can have that approach, but we're not. I'd rather take 2 QBs than 2 RBs.

    Kind of ironic, infuriating, funny, terrifying how this played out. Not long ago this staff basically stopped calling Weber (after they landed Harris). Then it was lots of attention (after Harris decommitted), and now Weber's mid-game decommit. Maybe they should have showed him a lot more loyalty...

    1. That "loyalty" bit at the end is nonsense. They wanted one running back in the class, and they had one. That RB decommitted, so they started recruiting running backs again. That's the way the world works. When Dave Brandon was hired, MSC stopped interviewing candidates. When Brady Hoke was hired, DB stopped interviewing candidates. You're being irrational in your effort to criticize Hoke.

    2. You stop interviewing candidates when they sign the dotted line not when they give you a verbal commitment. Big difference. This is really going to blow up in Michigsn's face when he signs with MSU.
      We need Jimmy more then ever!

    3. I agree with thunder. Lank is in love with RR and just wants to criticize Hoke. I love this site but wish I didn't have to read "lankdoesntknow" posts

    4. @Thunder

      You're untitled to your opinion but it's not nonsense. It is very reasonable to argue that you should pursue talent (regardless of position) over a rigid allocation to positions. In professional sports this is the classic talent vs. need debate.

      In my view, when you have an elite recruit you don't turn your nose at them. Michigan has made this mistake with OL and LB in previous classes. They said "we're full" and then the following year or two they ended up with marginal prospects. They turned away a WR commit in the 2011 class and a QB in the 2012 class because they felt they were covered.

      While justifiable from the depth chart/numbers game it doesn't acknowledge the inherent uncertainty of recruiting. Guys red-shirt, or don't. Guys change positions. Guys don't pan out, get hurt, etc.

      The way they approach RB recruiting (we'll take a bunch of guys and then the losers will transfer or become special teamers) is different than how they approach other positions. I'm not really sure why.

    5. Also -- I really really like Weber. I think he's better than anybody we have.

      I just don't think the positional need is there for Michigan. When he wanted to come here - absolutely, he should have been welcomed with open arms. But just because he decommits doesn't mean we should go down the list to the next in-state RB willing to come to the program.

    6. Not being prepared for a decommitment is simply foolish. Michigan should have known it was a possibility, be it because Green blew up into a 2,000 yard rusher or because the O-line flailed as badly as 2013, they had to be prepared for the possibility of a Harris decommitment. Instead, they gave Weber the cold-shoulder and it came back to bite them in the ass.

    7. @Anon 5:06

      You're right, I'm a total idiot for liking a coach who is good at coaching football and critical of a coach who is terrible at it.

      The fact you haven't figured out you don't have to read my comments says something about you...

  2. LOL No big loss here at all. Weber lacks burst. Think of Derrick Green "lite".....I'm actually HAPPY that he de-committed.