Ohio State Football: Don't Forget About Mike Weber

Ohio State Football: Don't Forget About Mike Weber

BuckeyeWire

Ohio State Football: Don't Forget About Mike Weber


It seems to be a foregone conclusion that J.K. Dobbins is going to be the back that gets the bulk of the carries for Ohio State this year, but don’t sleep on Mike Weber.


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Ohio State Football: Don’t Forget About Mike Weber

It’s the preseason watch list time of year and multiple Buckeyes either are — or will — begin to appear on many of the award lists that we’ve all grown to love. Nick Bosa and J.K. Dobbins have already been recognized, and you can bet your Scarlet and Gray undies that there’s more coming.

Heck, there have even been a slew of Heisman odds and predictions coming out with Dobbins, Haskins, and Bosa included in the conversation in some way shape or form. But glaringly missing from all the buzz is former 1,000 yard rusher Mike Weber.

Riches To Rags

You know the story well by now. Weber burst onto the scene his freshman year taking over for the departed Ezekiel Elliott and did not disappoint. In fact the 5-10, 215 lb. Weber finished in elite company — finishing as only the third Buckeye freshman to rush for over 1,000 yards in the history of the program. The other two? How about Robert Smith and Maurice Clarrett. Not bad company.

No. 25 was supposed to pick up right where he left off last year, but he was literally hamstrung by injury and was replaced by a shiny, new freshman in the form of J.K. Dobbins. It was thought to just be temporary.

Anyone remember Wally Pipp?

From there Dobbins stole the show, and Weber got into the mix late when he was finally healthy, but by that time the pecking order had been mostly set, and for good reason. After all, Dobbins doubled down to became just the fourth freshman in Ohio State history to go for over 1,000 yards, and did it in explosive fashion.

Under The Radar But On The Radar

So now we go into 2018 with two highly skilled backs. Dobbins is getting all the publicity based on last year, but haven’t we kind of forgotten about Weber just a wee-bit? Heck, he might be just as good — if not better — than Dobbins. He’s certainly been around the program longer for what it’s worth.

We’ve yet to really see Weber healthy with his new and improved self that the coaching staff drooled over at the beginning of last year. Weber had dropped weight and showed more breakaway ability than his freshman year.

Now just a year removed from some hard luck, he might be ready to showcase that skill when he gets on the field in 2018. He’s still a dynamic back that would be starting on almost any other team in the country, and still has a shot to be the starter this year.

I know, I know, Dobbins will likely get first crack, but it’s not set in stone, and there will be plenty of carries for Weber. If he makes the best of them, he might even be the feature guy as the season wears on, especially if Dobbins gets nicked up at a position that is very prone to afflictions.

Try this on for size — Weber gained 626 yards on just 101 carries. That’s 6.3 yards per carry on a hamstring that wasn’t full go the majority of the season. What would have happened if he was 100% on day one?

We may never know, but you have to like what you saw when Weber got a chance to run away from Michigan defenders in The Game late to put a cap on another chapter of Michigan misery. That play alone told you all you need to know. He hit the hole hard, used his vision to bounce back through an open seam of pursuit — and most importantly — ran away from defenders that seemed to have an angle on him.

If that’s the Weber we see in 2018, I wouldn’t count the kid out from being a bounce-back breakout player for Ohio State in 2018.

 

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