Coach Hazell might have secured his best recruit thus far for 2016 when running back Jack Wegher committed to Purdue on Thursday. The 5'11", 200 lb. athlete is a 3-star recruit according to various recruiting sites and attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, one of the best high school football teams in the country. The players on the roster for IMG this coming season collectively have received over 350 offers from Division I schools and they project to be ranked in the top 10 nationally in 2015.
Last season, Wegher rushed for 646 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also had 10 receptions for 137 yards. Those are not exactly eye-popping numbers, but remember, this team is loaded with Division 1 talent. Jack was part of a three-headed monster at running back that helped IMG amass over 2300 yards on the ground during their 10-1 season last year.
Aside from Purdue, several other schools have offered, including Iowa State, Connecticut, and Bowling Green. Wegher is currently on track to graduate in January and plans on enrolling early to join the team in the Spring. You can see him competing on ESPN's High School Football Kickoff on Sunday, August 30th, on ESPNU when IMG takes on Miramar.
He was apparently recruited by the coaching staff at Purdue to be a slot receiver but I strongly believe his future in West Lafayette will be primarily in the backfield, especially if genetics have anything to do with it. Jack is the younger brother of former Iowa Hawkeye running back Brandon Wegher, who just signed with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted rookie.
When I was watching film of Jack from last season, I couldn't get over how versatile he was and how many different ways the IMG coaches got him involved in the offense. I even wrote the word "versatile" down in my notes as I watched. That was before I knew that his older brother had made an NFL roster and before I had heard Carolina Panther's coach Ron Rivera use the same word - versatile - to describe his new player. Rivera's plan is to have Brandon catching passes out of the backfield in Carolina, which is exactly how I think (and hope) the coaching staff at Purdue will end up using Jack. Having him as a dual-threat running back opens up the playbook quite a bit more than having him line up in the slot and will end up paying huge dividends.
Below are some highlights of Jack via hudl. You'll see that he is very creative and shows off a lot of effective ways to gain yardage and avoid tackles without dancing around side-to-side. He typically makes his one cut and then commits to a running lane and often is dragged down by two or three defenders at a time. He's not the fastest guy out there but he understands angles extremely well and is very elusive. There is one clip of him running up to the line of scrimmage and successfully blocking a defender that easily has 40+ pounds on him. Also, he throws a touchdown pass. Enjoy.