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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- If Jim Harbaugh had his way, Mike Weber would be running around in maize and blue this summer instead of preparing to be the starting tailback for hated rival Ohio State. http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Pat-Sims-Jersey/ .Coming out of Detroits Cass Tech High School as a four-star recruit in 2015, Weber committed to play for Michigan coach Brady Hoke. But after Hoke was fired, he changed his mind and chose Ohio State following a feverish recruiting battle between Harbaugh and Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer. Harbaugh said losing Weber at the last minute left a bruise.In Columbus, Weber was red-shirted last year after a knee injury in training camp and told to soak up all he could from Ezekiel Elliott, one of Ohio States greatest ball carriers. Elliott left after the season and was a first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys. Then Webers chief competition at tailback, fifth-year senior Brionte Dunn, was kicked off the team for breaking the rules.That cleared the path for Weber, who now will get his chance to be the next marquee back in a program that produced Eddie George, Archie Griffin and Howard Hopalong Cassady -- its a job Meyer calls a Cadillac position in sports. His teammates call the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Weber Baby `Los, because his aggressive, bruising running style is reminiscent of Carlos Hyde, who ran for nearly 3,200 yards at Ohio State before going to the NFL in 2014.No pressure, right?I really just go out there, play my hardest, Weber said. I know people compare me from recent backs that we had. We had some great backs out here. I used to be worried about trying to live up to those standards, but really Im just now focused on being myself and doing everything I can to help this team win.Coaches acknowledge that Weber alone probably wont be able to make people forget Elliott, who not only ran for more than 3,900 yards and 43 touchdowns in three seasons but also was a superb pass blocker. Meyer has said the H-backs, particularly Curtis Samuel, will carry the ball this season, and Antonio Williams, a freshman who enrolled early and participated in spring practice, also will be in the mix at running back.Quarterback J.T. Barrett likes what he sees from Weber so far.Hes low to the ground, Barrett said. I think hes a hard runner, but its hard to get at his legs because hes so low. Being behind Zeke for a year ... you see that playing running back it doesnt matter if youre blocking, running, blocking for me, all these different things, you just have to go at a high tempo all the time. And I think hes definitely learned that from Zeke, which is going to come out in his game.The redshirt year, besides helping Weber mature, also gave him a chance to work on his body and fitness. Strength coach Mickey Marotti helped him develop a workout and nutrition plan, and the transformation was dramatic, evident in the side-by-side before and after photos Weber posted on social media. Meyer put it this way: A little fat kid turns into a good-looking running back.Last year I was kind of running around with my head cut off, Weber said. I didnt know too much, other than to get the ball and run. I was doing pretty well in fall camp last year before I got hurt. I was just learning last year, and this year I know what is going on, know the plays well, know my approach, know how to handle things differently. It should be a fun year.Running backs coach Tony Alford said Weber has grown up in his approach to his game as far as the mental part of the game, the approach to the way he takes care of his body in regards to the training staff, the strength and conditioning staff, his attentiveness in the meeting rooms.Everything about him is growing up right before your eyes, he said.Weber said the furor has died down back home regarding his decision to choose Ohio State over the team he rooted for as a boy, although some Michigan fans still give him the business from time to time. Thats not for him to worry about anymore. Hes getting ready to start at tailback for the Buckeyes on Sept. 3 at Ohio Stadium. The Horseshoe instead of the Big House.Im really excited, he said. Thats what I came here for. Its a huge opportunity to take on, and Im ready to take it on.---Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacyFor some of his other recent stories: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/mitch-stacy http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Hats/ . Now, with Game 6 set for Fenway Park and an 8:07 p.m. ET first pitch, the Detroit Tigers face the unenviable task of having to beat the Boston Red Sox twice, on the road, to advance to the World Series. http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Tyler-Eifert-Jersey/ . The 29-year-old Baines has established himself as one of the top attacking full backs in the country and was the subject of two bids from United during the last off-season. Everton manager Roberto Martinez says that keeping Baines at the club is a "massive boost and exciting for the future" because he brings "maturity and football knowledge in a very specialized position on the pitch" and an "infectious and positive influence to the rest of the squad. http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Brandon-Lafell-Jersey/ . Jordan Lynch, the all-purpose Heisman Trophy finalist from Northern Illinois, failed to make it into that exclusive club. RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brian Baker is not among the collection of highly ranked players and Grand Slam champions playing tennis at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.Baker was supposed to be one of those stars, though -- or at least appeared destined for big things as an up-and-coming teen who reached No. 2 in the world junior rankings and was the French Open boys runner-up in 2003.Hes a great ball-striker. Always has been. Still is, said Jay Berger, who will coach Baker and the rest of the U.S. mens tennis team in Rio, where competition begins on the hard courts Saturday. He has an incredible understanding of the game and where the ball is going.Ah, but Bakers body has been the problem. Repeatedly. To the tune of 11 operations. Procedures on both hips. His right elbow. His back. Surgery for a sports hernia. Four repairs of his right knee.Instead of giving up, he has mounted comeback after comeback after comeback. The latest return happened at the Australian Open in January, when he played his first match in nearly 2 1/2 years after recovering from a torn meniscus in his right knee.Its an incredible story. Its unfortunate everything hes been through. We all say that if he had stayed healthy, easily hed be a top-20 player, if not top-10, U.S. teammate Denis Kudla said. Its just that his body hasnt really done him any favors. But its going to be a special moment for him, knowing maybe he never got the chance to represent his country, even though he probably felt he could have been doing it for the last 10 years.Baker will play 107th-ranked Yuichi Sugita of Japan on Saturday, when others in first-round action include major champions Venus Williams, Serbias Ana Ivanovic and Croatias Marin Cilic in singles, and Serbias Novak Djokovic in doubles.Its natural to wonder whether Baker ponders what might have been.I mean, you probably think about it, but at the same time, I cant do anything about it. I did get injuries, Baker said.I would like to have thought that I would have had a pretty successfuul career and done well. http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Vincent-Rey-Jersey/. But Im not going to say, like, `Oh, yeah, I would have been top 10, he continued. But sure, I would hope that I would be able to have a successful career, be a top-30 guy, year-in and year-out. But who knows?That, indeed, is the question when it comes to Baker, a 31-year-old who reached a career-high of No. 52 in the ATP rankings in 2012, and is currently No. 334.So how did a guy that far down get a spot on the four-man U.S. singles roster for the 64-player draw in Brazil?First of all, it helped that two Americans, John Isner and Sam Querrey, chose to skip the Rio Games. And Baker took advantage of a rule that allows injured players to use whats known as a protected ranking to enter nine tournaments of their choosing when they return.To those who think Baker shouldnt be in the field, Isner offered this answer: Look, its all within the rules. ... So good on him for getting into the Olympics and earning this spot -- and hopefully he can do something with it.While tennis players in Rio will earn neither prize money nor rankings points, Baker decided this was too rare an opportunity to let pass.Obviously you want to be able to utilize your `protected ranking to try to help get your ranking back up, said Baker, who spent time during his most recent rehab stint finishing his degree in general business with a finance concentration from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he also coached tennis. But I think the Olympics is a different animal.He recalls watching Andre Agassi win a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games.Theres not many things like the Olympics. Its a different thing. Youre not there just playing for yourself; youre playing for your country, Baker said. Its going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.One worth waiting for.---Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys Throwback Discount NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Camo Jerseys Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Cheap NFL Gear Discount NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys 2019 Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys Camo Cheap NFL Jerseys Camo Wholesale NFL Gear Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic NFL Jerseys China Stitched NFL Jerseys ' ' ' 
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