Column: Weber Becoming a Complete Back

Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech 2015 RB Mike Weber turned some heads at The Opening with his strong play out of the backfield. Read GBW's Josh Newkirk's column on Weber inside.

Mike Weber is growing before our eyes.

Not bigger, even though he is as wide as they come at running back at 5-foot-10, 205-pounds, with his big shoulders and Mark Ingram like frame. He is certainly growing in a healthy direction there.

But Weber is growing as a football player. He is improving. He is showing his full arsenal of skills. He is getting better.

And that was on full display this week at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore. -- home of Nike’s world headquarters -- where some of the top talent in the country came to compete against our nation’s best.

Weber, who came to the event ranked as the No. 14 running back in the latest 2015 player rankings, made his presence known and maybe changed the opinion of some on what his skill-set brings to the table.

He looks like a between the tackles runner. And he is more than capable of doing that. But what Weber brought this past week was energy, passion and skills that make him look and feel like a feature back in any offensive system at the next level.

In the 7-on-7 two day event that caters to wide receivers -- not running backs -- Weber shined. He was a playmaker for his offense. He was able to create in space and get open down the field. At first he wasn’t looked as a primary receiver for his offense, but after consistently getting open, his quarterbacks had no choice but to throw him the ball -- and he delivered.

He caught a game clinching touchdown in 7-on-7 play on Wednesday on a wheel route that was perfectly placed by five-star quarterback Josh Rosen. He also got caught a pass as time expired on Thursday in the back of the end zone that was ruled out, in double coverage no less. It was a close call, either way, he showed that his two day performance wasn’t a fluke, but a trend.

“Weber I thought was tremendous,” said Scout national recruiting analyst Jamie Newburg. “I loved him on film. After I got our here, he is more of a compact running back with great explosiveness. Put together a little better than Damien Harris, our number one running back in the country. He catches the ball exceptionally well. He is terrific in space. He is not committed yet, but someone up in the Midwest in Big Ten country is going to get themselves a one heck of a running back. He is ultra quick, very good speed and very versatile, cause obviously he can run and he showed out here he can catch the football.”

And it wasn’t just in the 7-on-7, but in the drills on Tuesday, that made him stick out. Amongst top running backs like Harris and Jacques Patrick, Weber was right there with them. He displayed energy throughout the drills. He looked like he wanted to compete. He shook some defenders in the open field too. He got some cheers from his teammates and the crowd. He looked like he belong among the nation’s best.

“I came out here and competed with the top running backs, the top linebackers. I really had a lot of fun,” Weber said on Tuesday. “[Fellow running backs] like Damien Harris, Jacques Patrick, Jordan Scarlett, I have been competing against them guys without competing against them. Just hearing from them and being able to go out there and getting to know them and just compete against them.”

Out of everyone in his group, he made giant leaps and bounds far as improving day to day. And that what college coaches are looking for in a running back.

But what’s next for Weber?

No doubt, he will be focusing in on his senior season at Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech with hopes of winning his third state championship in four seasons.

Besides the obvious, he also has to make a college decision. Where will he go? Who are his leaders? What’s next up in his recruitment?

Weber said this week that Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Tennessee are his top-five schools. Although recently, he said the Vols haven’t paid him much attention as of late. So they appear out. He also said he plans on visiting Miami (Fla.) for one of his official visits after they offered this past June.

But while he is saying he has a top-five, it really should come down to two schools -- Michigan and Michigan State. The two in-state rivals that have long pursued Weber to be part their 2015 classes.

At one time it looked like Weber would never be considered at U-M after the commitment of Harris last fall. But since Harris decommitted this January, and Michigan hired offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, the Wolverines have made it clear they want Weber in their class.

But it took some patch work, and it has slowing built up to where Michigan seems like they are back full force with Weber. Along with Nussmeier, Weber is also being heavily recruited by U-M quarterback commit, Alex Malzone, who has made it no secret that he wants Weber in this class. He made an extra push for Weber at The Opening this past week.

“I’d probably say Mikey (Weber),” Malzone said, when asked which running back he wanted this years class. “I talk to Mikey a lot. I’ve known him from Cass Tech, Michigan native.

“Mike Weber, we’re getting him to go blue.”

With Malzone and Nussmeier both making Weber their No. 1 priority, Weber has no choice but to choose Michigan, right?

“Alex [Malzone] has just been saying come down there and have a good time with him,” Weber said on conversation with Malzone. “Hopefully that will affect my decision.”

Will see this month when he takes a another visit to Ann Arbor for Michigan’s annual Barbecue at the Big House. It will give the Motor City star another chance to get the comfortable with the Wolverines. It will be another step in the right direction if Weber enjoys his visit.

Weber, who is planning to announce his commitment at the U.S. Army Bowl in January, will have plenty of time to make his final decision.

And whether he picks the Wolverines or not, whoever gets Weber on signing day, is getting a complete back. And he proved that this week.

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