Buckeye RB signee breaks silence, appears to end recruiting saga
Before it could drag into a second week, the saga involving the recruitment of Mike Weber by Ohio State and Michigan appears to have been brought to a close -- by Mike Weber.
A four-star running back from Detroit, Weber was at the center of an off-field renewal of the rivalry between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines as a recruit coveted by both. It looked like that came to an end when he signed a national letter of intent from Ohio State last Wednesday despite late overtures by new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, but the youngster found his name in the news again when he expressed hurt a day later at the news OSU running backs coach Stan Drayton was leaving for a job with the Chicago Bears.
Drayton had been among a trio of Ohio State coaches who spent the night before Signing Day convincing Weber to stick with his commitment, and his exit touched off a debate involving fans of both teams and many in the college football media about the ethics and the optics of the move, not to mention the fairness of a system in which coaches can leave pretty much any time they want even as the players sign agreements binding them to one school.
Weber's high school coach added fuel to the fire when he told a Detroit radio station Ohio State had used misleading tactics to keep Weber in the fold, and Harbaugh appeared to use his own Twitter account to hint he agreed with the suggestion head coach Urban Meyer and his staff had done Weber wrong.
Weber, however, remained silent until Monday night, when he first lashed out at critics of a picture of him working out in a Michigan T-shirt that made the social media rounds. Then he wished Drayton luck and expressed excitement to play for his replacement, former Notre Dame assistant Tony Alford.
Adding Weber gives Ohio State a crowded backfield for next year as College Football Playoff National Championship Game offensive MVP Ezekiel Elliott returns for his junior season along with fellow former four-star recruits Bri'onte Dunn, Warren Ball and Curtis Samuel.