Youngest Boren Continuing OSU Tradition

Jacoby Boren, a commitment to Ohio State's football program, will be the third brother from his family to play for the Buckeyes. Though going to Michigan was nearly the family tradition, Jacoby brings the Boren "toughness" to Ohio State.

Jacoby Boren offered a little chuckle before a brief pause when asked which one of his older brothers he was more similar to.

"It's kind of funny because I am kind of in between both on almost everything," Boren said after a moment of internal debating.

Even after the pondering he couldn't come to a definitive answer.

Though both of his older brothers, Justin and Zach, were teammates on Ohio State's football team a year ago, both will agree they couldn't be more different.

Justin, the former Ohio State offensive guard who has since graduated, is often described as the quiet guy with a mean streak. Zach, the current starting fullback for the Buckeyes, conversely is the more outspoken, athletic type.

But there is one thing Jacoby knows is an unmistakable common trait between both he and his older brothers — they're all Buckeyes.

"I think Ohio State is more than just a school," said Jacoby, who committed to the program early in the process out of Pickerington (Ohio) Central in Dec. of 2010.

"You look over at the tradition, the people, the coaches, and the players that played before you and everything else. That's what got me hooked and that's the real reason why I couldn't imagine myself as anything other than a Buckeye."

Finally, something the three ultra-competitive brothers can all ultimately agree on. Even their father, Mike Boren, doesn't hesitate with his unwavering backing of the Ohio State football program.

And here's the kicker — Mike is a former Michigan linebacker.

"As soon as my boys played (at Ohio State), its all about your kids," said Mike, who played on the Wolverines defense from 1980-83. "It is not about me and I am a big Buckeyes fan now. We are all Buckeyes. We have some Michigan stuff in our basement, but it is just respecting the rivalry."

Though Jacoby won't often credit his older brothers for much, it was undoubtedly a decision that Justin made that likely set the tone for where he's signed to play college football. Justin's journey to Ohio State won't soon be forgotten.

Just like his father, Justin started his career at Michigan before doing the unthinkable, transferring from the program after former Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez took over. Justin cited the erosion of "family values" under Rodriguez as the reason for his decision to leave Michigan in favor of its biggest rival.

"I think it pretty much paved the way for the two younger guys. Pretty much set it in stone," Mike said of Justin's decision. "Jacoby had the Michigan blood and Zach had the Michigan blood. They were taught that from day one. Justin pretty much paved the way, and when Jacoby got the offer, he wanted to be a Buckeye."

Perhaps if Justin would have played all four years with the Wolverines instead of transferring to Ohio State for his final two seasons, Zach and inevitably Jacoby may have found their college football homes in Ann Arbor.

Instead, being a Wolverine wasn't even an option for the Buckeye-bound Jacoby.

"I don't know if helped is the right word, but knowing what (my brothers) went through at Ohio State and being recruited by their school, I know what really goes on there and the whole situation and that hooked me," Jacoby said.

"I know what is going on day-to-day and I like the way they run things. They gave me insight and I knew what it was about. I like everything I have seen from Ohio State just by seeing what my brothers have gone through there."

Even when Ohio State was going through off the field issues this summer — which ultimately ended in the resignation of head coach Jim Tressel on May 30 — Jacoby's firm stance on being all Buckeye never wavered.

"It's the tradition that Ohio State football is famous for that made me want to commit," said Jacoby, who stands 6-2, 285 pounds. "When they mentioned (Luke Fickell) was going to be the head coach, I love Coach Fickell. He's going to be a great coach. I was definitely sad to see Coach Tressel leave, but Coach Fickell was there too. I think that definitely helped out that he is going to be there."

Though Jacoby will immediately be recognized in Columbus for what his older brothers have already accomplished, the youngest Boren hopes his combination of Justin and Zach's traits will help him create his own legacy as a Buckeye.

"Jacoby is mean. He is just mad – nasty. He plays with a mean streak," Mike said. "He plays to the whistle. Jacoby is half of Justin and half of Zach. I would say Jacoby has Zach's leadership, and nasty-wise he is just like Justin.

"Jacoby, he's just a tough kid. He's the youngest of all the boys and he has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He thinks he can beat Justin (up) a lot of the time. Sometimes it gets ugly at home – I have to be breaking up fights and everything else."

Perhaps the competitive, tough nature Jacoby sports will likely pay more dividends than helping him survive the wrath of his two older brothers during their childhood years.

Though there have been questions regarding Jacoby's size and whether it is ideal for an interior lineman at a school like Ohio State, he's made up for any shortcomings with an unyielding desire to want to get better.

Adding nearly 20 pounds of muscle in the recent months to his already bulky frame, Jacoby now regularly reps 415 pounds on the bench press. But uncertainty regarding his height lingers, as some wonder if he's actually two inches or more shorter than his recruiting profile suggests.

"I don't think he is undersized by any means, but once you get a reputation it is hard to shake it," Zach said while acknowledging the questions regarding his brother's height. "(A reporter) questioned (his size) this past week at his game. A lot of people question him, but who has been great that hasn't been questioned? I am happy he is being questioned so he can come out and prove people wrong.

"He's a mean dude. He knows how to come off the line and attack people and that's the most important thing regardless of size. It's a hard to play the way that he does and that's what makes him special."

It is the realms that he carries out in the weight room that have translated onto the football field, which is why Mike is certain Jacoby will be nothing but successful in his time at Ohio State.

"In all of his years starting a Central he has never had a bad game," Mike said. "Jacoby is one of those guys who goes until the whistle. He goes and goes and goes. "He is just one of those guys who works his butt off in the off-season. He knows he has to compete with his brothers and he doesn't want to disappoint anybody. He is just relentless, that's the word I'd use to describe him: relentless."

Zach remembered the days during his childhood where Jacoby would bypass fighting with him to focus on the older, bigger Justin. Perhaps an early statement of self-confidence, Jacoby never backed down from either of his brothers.

That's presumably the attitude he has taken when lining up in the trenches. He won't waver from that point of view in his final season in high school or when he finally reports to Ohio State.

Having the name Boren on the back of his jersey already makes a statement. "When you go up against somebody you always want to kick them and get them down and beat them every play," Jacoby said. "That's the way I always play. That's the way you have to play."

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