On January 1, 2019, Mike Weber and the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl. Weber was a high profile high school prospect who performed well as a redshirt freshman. He relinquished a significant portion of the workload to J.K. Dobbins during his sophomore season, but he remained highly productive despite being the second back in a committee.
Weber was a highly sought-after prospect out of Cass Technical High School. Per 247 Sports Composite Rankings, he was a four-star prospect and ranked as the seventh RB in the class of 2015. Weber initially chose Michigan, but decommitted, switching to rival Ohio State in December 2014.1
Weber suffered an injury prior to his freshman season which sidelined him and delayed the start to his college career. But once he was healthy, he took over as the leading non-QB rusher.
2016 is the highlight year for Weber’s college career. He was second on the team to J.T. Barrett in rushing attempts and led the team in rushing yards and touchdowns. While he fell short of 200 carries, he amassed over 1,000 yards on his 182 carries. Additionally, he accumulated more than 1.0 receptions per game totaling 23 for the season. His 4.0 yards per reception average, however, is somewhat concerning.
The start to his 2017 was delayed by a minor injury. Missing the first game of the season opened the door for Dobbins to become the starting RB. Following that injury, Weber served as the second back in the team’s committee despite having decent efficiency. Over his final two seasons, he totaled 258 carries while averaging 5.75 yards per carry. He did manage a second season with 20 receptions, but his efficiency remained low at just 5.2 yards per catch.
Sharing the backfield significantly hinders Weber’s profile using Anthony Amico’s RB prospect model. Using the 130 cumulative yards per game threshold, Weber never had a breakout season during his time in Columbus. Based on the lack of breakout alone, Anthony’s study found a historical success rate of just 12.1 percent. Running through the regression tree, it doesn’t improve much.
With a career YPR of just 5.5 yards, Weber falls in the undesirable node 8 with a 2.7 percent historical success rate, assuming a final draft scout rank is worse than 4.5 2 However, athleticism is a critical portion of the evaluation process, as it affects both Draft Scout rank and projected draft position. But he’s unlikely to test well on the combine drill regression tree created by Kevin Cole because of his height.
Weber is listed at 5 feet 10 inches. With the expectation that his combine measurement may be lower, his best outcome is down to 27 percent, assuming a strong three-cone drill. Based on his production profile and projected combine measurements, Weber is a risky option in rookie drafts. But all hope isn’t lost. If he impresses during the draft lead up, the opinion could change dramatically. He’s demonstrated enough versatility at a top-tier college program that a great combine could turn him into a top-four round pick and with that draft capital, he’d have value at the back end of the second round of rookie drafts.