January 13, 2010

The Borens have made their mark at OSU

In this day and age of star watching in the recruiting world you never really know what you are going to get from the perceived lesser recruits. But throughout the years the Buckeyes have had great success with these three star recruits and turned them into star collegiate players and even pushed more than a handful out to the NFL where they are making quite the living playing on Sundays.

Fullback Zach Boren was one of these aforementioned three stars that nobody knew quite what to expect. Boren had a successful career at Pickerington (Ohio) Central high school where he played both ways as a linebacker and as a running back/fullback.

Things got even more cloudy when Boren injured his knee with a tear to the ACL, MCL and meniscus and missed valuable practice time when he reported to the Ohio State campus. But things seem to have a funny way of working out and Boren flew through his rehab and was in the starting lineup for the season opener and started in 12 games during the season (did not play against New Mexico State).

"I am going out and doing what the coaches ask me to do every week," Zach Boren said. "I am just going with the game plan and if we use a fullback a lot that week and use those formations I (just) go out and play the hardest that I can. I am just excited to help out the team especially being a true freshman and with how young I am. Hopefully my role expands throughout the years."

It certainly doesn't hurt having an older brother on the team and when Justin Boren transferred to Ohio State from Michigan it opened a world of possibilities. It seemed unlikely that any of the Boren boys (there is still one more Boren in youngest brother Jacoby Boren) would ever don the Scarlet and Gray but now it seems as if they have found a home in Columbus.

Both of the Borens admit that playing on the same team as one another is a great honor and Zach has really learned a lot from his older brother and is grateful for having the opportunity to learn from a family member.

"He has definitely helped me out a lot," Zach Boren said. "He has taken me under his wing this whole year and it has helped me gain confidence especially in times that I was struggling or didn't know what to do and when I needed that push."

What lessons has Justin passed on so far?

"I just relayed to him the experiences that I had in going from high school to college," Justin Boren said. "He has done a great job and I am so proud of him. He came in here and I don't think a lot of people expected him to do much and now he is our starting fullback and is doing a great job. I couldn't be more proud of him and he does a great job for us and is a hard worker."

Zach's greatest contribution was as a blocking fullback but Boren has been used as more than a lead blocker. The fullback has not been used as a major part of the offense and while Boren's numbers are far from staggering any observer of the Buckeyes will recognize that they are well above the curve in recent years. Boren was not used as a runner with zero attempts but did have four receptions for 23 yards including a touchdown against Indiana and a season high two receptions against Penn State.

Boren admits that his game has improved by leaps and bounds from the early part of the season and the film proves it.

"I have gone back and watched the first couple of weeks of football and I definitely can tell you that I was a young player back them," Zach Boren said. "You just pick up stuff throughout the season, keys you pick up and how you read the defenses. Going into it you don't have any experience with it so it is hard to do. I have definitely seen myself grow and it is exciting knowing that I am becoming a better football player out there."

And despite keeping up with the Joneses Ohio State is never going to truly change its stripes as a running team and Boren is looking forward to leading the way and doing his part to achieve the team's lofty goals.

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