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Michigan boasts bevy of running backs, but Ohio State commit Mike Weber offers needed splash

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Michigan needs a splash in its backfield, one that hasn't been seen since Mike Hart. Four-star Ohio State running back commit Mike Weber (Detroit, Mich.) offers just that.

De'Veon Smith (4) led Michigan in rushing last season, but the Wolverines need a splash at running back.
De'Veon Smith (4) led Michigan in rushing last season, but the Wolverines need a splash at running back.
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note: Ricky Lindsay is the newest contributor to Maize n Brew and currently is the Sports Editor for the Michigan Journal at the University of Michigan Dearborn campus. Please help me welcome Ricky to MnB!

Michigan hasn't been shy about its desire of a return to the power run game in recent years.

And that likely won't change under Jim Harbaugh.

See Toby Gerhart and Frank Gore.

After a pair of lackadaisical, in-the-red performances against Michigan State and Nebraska in 2013, Michigan's running attack rebounded nicely in 2014. Led by De'Veon Smith, six Wolverine running backs combined for 1625 yards last season, with four of those players surpassing the 200-yard plateau.

Entering 2015, Michigan boasts four running backs capable of Division-1 starting roles. Five if you want to include Justice Hayes.

But the program needs a splash in its backfield, one that hasn't been seen since Mike Hart.

Four-star Ohio State running back commit Mike Weber (Detroit, Mich.) offers just that.

Formerly committed to the Wolverines from Aug. 6, 2014-Nov. 22, 2014, Weber is the No. 2 player overall in the state of Michigan in the class of 2015. He had a marvelous senior season at Cass Tech, rushing for 2,268 yards and 29 touchdowns on 224 carries in 10 games, per MLive.com.

The 5-foot-9, 219-pound Weber was on another level come playoff time, rushing for 890 yards and 13 touchdowns in four games. More than one-third of his yards and nearly half of touchdowns came in postseason play.

Weber flipping back to Michigan seems highly unlikely at this point. The Detroit News reported Saturday that an official visit to Ann Arbor is doubtful.

If Harbaugh hopes to reclaim Weber's commitment, he will need to pull off the heist of the year. And for good reason.

Ohio State is two weeks removed from a National Championship, and Urban Meyer has lost only three games during his three years in Columbus. The Buckeyes offered quite the performance on national television from a positional standpoint, which should appeal to Weber. Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott had a postseason for the ages behind a stout Buckeye line, breaking the rushing yards record in the National Championship game.

The Wolverines should continue to enact the full-court press when it comes to Weber, though.

At this point, you might be wondering why.

Well, crazier things have happened before and there's still time before signing day.

But more importantly, the Wolverines haven't had a true feature back since Hart. Only one Michigan running back has totaled 1,000 rushing yards since his senior season in 2007: Fitzgerald Toussaint in 2011. Denard Robinson accomplished the feat three times in his career, but he was a quarterback.

If his skills translate to the collegiate level, Weber has the chance to become a feature back for whomever he suits up for. This became evident to me on Nov. 15, 2014, following my first exposure to the star recruit.

It was the regional round of the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs and Weber's Cass Tech team was hosting Chippewa Valley (Clinton Township, Mich.) in the final home game of his prep career.This became evident to me on Nov. 15, 2014, following my first exposure to the star recruit.

Both teams possessed future collegiate talent but Weber was on another level.

He routinely broke jaw-dropping runs and looked untouchable at times, bouncing off defenders with ease while utilizing a mix or power and speed.

Like a pinball ricocheting off a collection of bumpers, Weber racked up an MHSAA postseason record 404 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns. Four of the five touchdowns came on rushes of at least 44 yards. A sparkling home sendoff in a decorated prep career.

There's plenty of other areas that need addressing in Michigan's 2015 recruiting class between now and signing day. And it possesses a bevy of capable backs on its roster, headlined by former five-stars Derrick Green and Ty Isaac, both who should be factors this fall.

But missing out on a homegrown talent like Weber, especially to rival Ohio State, might prove costly to the Wolverines.