COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was just another ordinary Monday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, until Ohio State running back Mike Weber went on the name dropping session of the year.
The redshirt freshman tailback was being grilled on whether he felt his style was more similar to that of Carlos Hyde or Ezekiel Elliott, the two players who preceded him as Ohio State’s starter in the backfield.
Instead of choosing sides in that debate, however, he said he grew up admiring the style of more old-school backs — Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. Both of those choices make sense. The pair are widely regarded as two of the best to ever play the position, and Weber grew up watching Sanders play in his hometown of Detroit.
When pressed for more information, however, he casually added that he knows Sanders and speaks with him often.
“I’m actually really cool with Barry Sanders,” he said. “I’ve played golf with him a couple times.
“When I was little, I played in a little All-American game and I met him. He spoke to us. I know a lot of people who know him, so I met him one time. I talk to him often, after almost every game. He’s a good guy.”
Despite Sanders’ status as one of Weber’s sports idols, he couldn’t talk the redshirt freshman out of a jersey switch when Bri’onte Dunn was dismissed from the team and Weber’s coveted No. 25 jersey opened up.
“He wanted me to keep No. 20, because I had No. 20,” Weber said. “But I wanted No. 25, so I changed it anyways.”