The Michigan Wolverines learned they had to play catch up recently with offensive line recruit Justin Boren. The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder informed everyone a few weeks back that he had the Ohio State Buckeyes at the top of his list. With their arch rivals sitting in the driver seat for the son of a former Michigan player, the staff in Ann Arbor had mount a comeback that diverted Boren's route. Their answer came in the form of a spring practice visit last Friday. Accompanied by his dad and little brother, the trip could not have gone any better.
"We got up there on Friday at 11:30 and we stayed until 5:30," Boren said. "We talked to coaches first. I talked to Coach Carr by myself for about an hour. I've talked to him multiple times before, but we never really talked about what we talked about on Friday. We talked to Coach Moeller, the offensive line coach, for over an hour. I got to talk to the strength and conditioning coach, Coach Gittleson. He is a great guy. He has been in the business for a very long time. He is probably the most informed strength and conditioning coach there is. He knows his stuff and I would really enjoy working with him. We also talked to the academic advisor. Before this, I was definitely leaning toward Ohio State. But after the visit, I'm definitely split. I'm 50-50 all of the way. I've got a very tough decision to make."
The thing that really turned this recruitment around for the Maize and Blue was how the coaching staff addressed some of the major questions that Boren had for them. "I had a bunch of questions to ask on redshirting and playing time," Boren said. "All of them basically got answered the way I wanted them to. I'm graduating in December and they said if I graduate then, I get to go to their bowl game, practice with them, and participate in all of the activities. Then I'd be in spring practice. They also said that if I work hard and work up to my potential, I'll be in the two-deep by the fall and I would not redshirt.."
With the tables now even, Boren's decision timetable has changed a bit also. "I was looking to make a decision around June, but with the visit, it may push things back," Boren said. "I may look to do it August. I have to do it sort of early since I'm graduating early. August , September…somewhere around there."
Boren's acknowledgement of Ohio State as the frontrunner a few weeks back is a clear sign that being a legacy recruit won't be the deciding factor in his choice. That said, it will certainly play a role. "I'm definitely considering them (Michigan) a lot," Boren said. "Ever since I could walk, I was up at the games. I know all of the tradition. It's a great program and it's definitely something that I have to look into. It will probably be the toughest decision I've ever made in my life."
As hard as the choice may be, it probably won't be enhanced by the presence of other schools in the equation. "I wouldn't say any other schools are in heavy contention," Boren said. "I've gotten scholarship offers from across the country, but realistically speaking, it's going to come down to Ohio State or Michigan."
The two traditional rivals are not separated by much in this recruiting battle.
Ultimately, Boren's decision may boil down to where he feels most comfortable.
"My major is going to be one of the factors," Boren said of the considerations
that will go into his choice. "I'm going to major in construction management.
They offer pretty good programs in that. Another factor definitely will be where
they see me and not redshirting. They both have said that if I graduate early,
they're not going to redshirt me and I'd be in the two-deep. I'm going to talk
to the Ohio State coaches next week and go to their sprig practice. It basically
boils down to where I feel most comfortable. It's going to be a very very tough