Thursday, August 7, 2014

Michael Weber, Wolverine

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech running back Michael Weber committed to Michigan.
Detroit (MI) Cass Tech running back Michael Weber committed to Michigan on Wednesday night. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, USC, and Wisconsin, among others.

I wrote up a scouting report on Weber in March (LINK), and not much has changed since then; after all, it was based on his junior film. He is slated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.

ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #14 running back, #169 overall, #2 in-state
Rivals: 4-star, #10 running back, #105 overall, #1 in-state
Scout: 4-star, #13 running back, #104 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 94 grade, #13 running back, #144 overall, #2 in-state

Weber was one of Michigan's earliest offers in the 2015 class, but Kentuckian Damien Harris committed first. The presence of perhaps the nation's top-ranked running back seemed to bother Weber, who lost some interest in Michigan and started to build relationships with the likes of Michigan State, Ohio State, USC, and Wisconsin. Then Al Borges was fired, Harris decommitted, and new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier re-prioritized Weber this winter and spring. As you can tell by my comments on the March scouting report, I thought Michigan held a slight lead by that point. Despite touted teammate Joshua Alabi committing to Ohio State recently, Weber skipped a planned visit to Michigan State, drove to Ann Arbor with one of his coaches, and committed to Michigan on Wednesday evening.

Weber is a solid player who has been dominating the Detroit area (and the state) for the past three years. I mentioned in that scouting report that he reminds me of Emmitt Smith in the way he runs - not extremely fast, not extremely powerful, not extremely shifty, but he gets the job done efficiently. One other thing to note is that Weber reportedly caught the ball well at a recent camp, which strengthens the Smith comparison and adds another dimension to a well rounded game. I have noted in the past that if Michigan's offensive line develops like it should with all these big-time recruits, any halfway decent running back should be very productive. I do not see Weber dominating the highlight reels in the future, but he should be a good running back for the Wolverines who has some potential for the NFL.

This gives Michigan ten commits in the 2015 class, which is currently scheduled to hit just 11 or so (LINK). He's also the only running back (with Harris likely headed elsewhere), and Michigan will probably stand pat with just one back in this class unless something changes. The Wolverines have landed the top two in-state players (Weber, WR Brian Cole) and three of the top four (QB Alex Malzone is #4), according to the 247 Composite. Weber is another in a long line of Cass Tech players headed to Michigan, where he will join offensive lineman David Dawson, linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone, cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and Terry Richardson, and safety Delano Hill. Furthermore, his Wednesday night visit took place with Delano Hill's younger brother, Lavert, a 2016 cornerback who also holds an offer from the Wolverines.

TTB Rating: 82 (ratings explanation)


  1. Thunder-

    What do you think of Weber compared to Damien Harris?

    1. I think Harris is a better prospect due to his speed and strength, but Weber looks to me like a more instinctive runner. Harris with a good offensive line would be a lethal combination, in my opinion.

    2. How would you compare the level of competition Harris and Weber face in high school?

    3. Harris obviously has it all but Weber is a real good pick up. Michigan fans should be happy.

  2. He is a Michigan man. No further comments required.

  3. I think Weber is a good prospect. If his listed size of 5'10" 210 lbs is legit, that bodes well for his future. He has good top-end speed for a player with that kind of build. Appears to have good vision, and also shows some power. I'd say he is a low-floor guy who does not have significant weaknesses. There is always a lot of competition at RB at UM, and that is only increasing now that Hoke has stepped up his recruiting in that area. But I see Weber as a guy who is likely to become a significant contributor at RB.

    Harris is a nice prospect too and maybe has a little more raw talent, but I don't see Weber as a major step down. Guessing that both will be good but not great at the major college level.

    1. ^^^ meant "high floor", meaning he'll at decent at minimum. ^^^

  4. At first I wasn't sold on Weber however after watching a lot of his tape I will stand corrected He reminds me a lot of Michigan Mike Hart except with a bit more speed. I was surprised that Weber does show some quick feet in the hole, decent change of direction, very similar to Hart. Plus he just seems to have a good head for the right hole to hit and doesn't waste time getting there. All again similar to Hart. I was always amazed that Hart did nothing extremely well except gain consistent yardage. For me, that is what Weber will do. He might not contribute immediately but I think this is a good get especially keeping him away from Sparty and continuing the Cass Tech pipeline.
    In Hoke I Trust

  5. It was reported that Harris' commit caused Michigan to back off. Weber said all the right things, but who knows maybe he was scared off, as you imply. It didn't seem like it to me.

    I find this kind of recruiting approach by our staff to be pretty frustrating. Seen it before for OL and DL and LB. You never know who will pan out and you never know who will decommit. Turning away/slow-playing high 4 star guys with serious interest because you are "full" should not happen unless you flat out don't want them and/or absolutely have zero room at the Inn.

    If those reports are true about backing off Weber, this staff really messed up, but major credit deserved since they were able to recover. D for strategy. A for execution.

    Weber sounds like a pretty good back and I'm glad they didn't get hung up on his height. I personally tend to favor the shorter/stouter backs than the longer/leaner backs this staff generally seems to prefer. Excited to see what Weber can do.

    I guarantee the class is a lot bigger than 11.

    1. Not sure what you expect from the coaches. UM was not taking two RB's this year. Once Harris was committed, they could not take Weber. It sounds like you are expecting them aggressively recruit a kid that they don't have a spot for. That would basically be lying and Hoke is really trying to establish a rep as an honest recruiter who does not blow smoke. Some kids are willing to go along as back-burner recruits to see how things shake out, but other don't want anything to do with it.

    2. Considering they took Isaac and Weber, I don't know why they couldn't have taken Harris and Weber. I expect the coaches to recognize that their judgment is fallible. If two great prospects want to come to Michigan, you take them both and let them compete. I don't believe you can assign spots/positions with great certainty.

      Obviously there are limits and you have to be reasonable, but you can't turn away high end talent because you are being too rigid about spots/positions. For example, I believe FSU has 3 QB commits right now. Michigan's best recent QB class was Forcier and Robinson. These things sort themselves out.

    3. I don't see why lying has to be part of it.

      Weber reportedly cooled on Michigan only because Michigan cooled on him. That was a mistake IMO, and I said so at the time.

    4. @ Lanknows

      I agree with Painter Smurf. Michigan stopped recruiting him because they didn't have a spot for him. It makes little to no sense to keep spending recruiting time on players you can't take in the class. As for taking Isaac, I think Isaac is more of a "sure thing" than Weber. Isaac is already NCAA-qualified, worked his way onto the field at a big-time program, and did a pretty solid job (5.9 yards/carry, a couple touchdowns). For all we know, Weber will decommit, fail to qualify, or reinforce a lot of fans' opinions that Cass Tech kids flame out in college.

    5. My point is they should be flexible with spots, instead of saying "we are taking one running back" and that being the end of the story, they should change their plan if two elite prospects want to come.

      It was never about Isaac vs Weber. my point was if they have room for Weber and Isaac, they should have had room for Weber and Harris.

  6. I like the Emmitt Smith comparison. I kind of like what looks to me to be a mean streak and an honest desire to deliver a hit on a tackler.

    I have doubts about Harris on the basis of that man amongst boys thing. I think Harris is really playing against boys the PSL make suffer from a lack of equipment, facilities and coaching, but there is no lack of athleticism and attitude. I sincerely doubt that Harris would be running amok on the PSL like he does against low level rural Kentucky competition.

    This was the guy I wanted. sure hopes he works out.

    1. ... boys. The PSL may ....

      Fixed it.

      You can add the Catholic League into the above thought, where equipment, facilities and coaching is abundant.