With playoffs in full swing, Detroit’s Cass Tech is staking its claim once again as the best high school football team in Michigan, currently riding an undefeated season at 10-0. Senior running back Mike Weber has played a pivotal role in Cass Tech’s success this year, and it has set the tone for a prolific season overall from the four-star running back.
Weber, who is currently committed to the University of Michigan, is also one of the ten finalists selected by MLive.com for the Michigan High School Player of the Year award.
But performing at a high level is nothing new for Weber.
“Mike Weber was the best Little League player in PAL when he came to Cass,” said Cass Tech defensive coordinator Jermain Crowell. “We’ve just always had other running backs. We had Gary Hosey, a Division I running back, Deon Drake, a Division I running back. Mikey had to wait his turn. He didn’t have to carry the whole load, but now he’s the featured back. He’s got to carry the load, so you get to see more of Mike Weber. They’re not even throwing him the ball. He’s got like some of the best hands on the team.”
Although waiting for upperclassmen to graduate before moving into a larger role may not have appeared as an attractive option for Weber at first, it served an important purpose. Now with considerable experience under his belt, Weber is a more seasoned football player that is much more equipped to play the game.
“He’s smarter,” said Crowell. “Mikey used to try to run everybody over. [Head coach Thomas Wilcher] has been working him a whole lot on being smarter on trying…before you’ve got to remember Mikey was only getting the ball maybe 11 carries a game. Now he is getting the ball about 20+ carries a game. So instead of running everybody over, when you’re right out of bounds, don’t punish that last defender, go ahead and step out of bounds, save your body. He’s smarter, he’s most definitely smarter, but as far as talent wise, man Mike Weber has always been the best.”
Weber’s immense talent has been evident for quite some time. After a productive junior season he stood out as one of the state’s most coveted running backs. At the time he was uncommitted and fielding interest from schools such as Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin among others.
Michigan, without a committed running back in the class of 2015, put the full court press on Weber to start the new year, complete with a strong recruiting pitch coming from new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. The relationship between Weber and Nussmeier proved impactful and led to an early August pledge of Weber to Michigan.
Since that time, Michigan has undergone a pitfall-laden season at 4-5, leaving the commitment status of many Wolverine pledges in question. According to Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher there is one essential piece of advice his star pupil must follow.
“The most important thing I’m telling him is that you have to make decisions on where you want to go and what you want to do,” said Wilcher. “I think you have to understand that you have to be happy with yourself. You can’t let other people influence you. That’s the most important thing. Be happy with what you want to do and make your own choice and make sure you go to a school and be happy regardless if you are going to play football or not. That’s the most important thing.
“Look beyond the football aspect and look at what you want to do and look at your dream, look at your hopes. Look at what you want to do and don’t let other people influence you. I think he loves football. He wants to play football. The most important thing is you have to love where you at and that’s it.”
As of right now, Weber is on track to play for Michigan next year. Whether or not head coach Brady Hoke remains in charge of the Maize and Blue come 2015 is yet to be seen, but Crowell advises Weber to take the bigger picture into consideration.
“My thing is this, before you committed, when you commit you commit to a university, you don’t commit to a coach. So one of the main reasons that Mikey told me he committed, because I didn’t know he was going to commit was because of tradition of Michigan and how their alumni base is, as far as getting guys jobs in case something happens to them as far as football. That was his reason for telling me, but I do know that winning is really big to him. Coach, what if they don’t win. I’ll be like, look Mikey that’s what they’re getting you for. If you’re the superstar that you’re supposed to be, then you’ll help them win. To me, he helped us win.”
Whether he will go on to help Michigan or some other team win remains to be seen. Scout.com’s No. 13 running has tentative plans to visit Michigan State this weekend and Ohio State and Wisconsin in the weeks to come.
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on Weber in the coming days.
Story by Eric Rutter
Interviews by Sam Webb