Undergoing A Transformation

Two years ago, the mere possibility would have drawn a laugh and a quick denial from Zach Boren and his family members. But now in the wake of Rich Rodriguez taking over the Michigan program, Zach and his older brother Justin find themselves preparing for futures as Ohio State Buckeyes. Take a look at the transformation process here on BuckeyeSports.com.

A transformation is taking place in the town of Pickerington, Ohio.

There, in a country house miles away from the freeway, the Boren family is having to adapt to some new circumstances. Starting in 2009, the Boren boys – Justin and Zach – will be suiting up for their first games in Ohio State uniforms.

For a family led by father Mike Boren, who played for Michigan in the early 80s, that might be a tough pill to swallow. But according to Zach, the most recent verbal member of the class of 2009, the process of getting rid of the maize and blue that has permeated the household and replacing it with scarlet and gray has already begun.

"We're just taking down the Michigan stuff," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "We're going to keep up my brother's jersey and some of my dad's stuff with my dad in it, but the Michigan signs, we just took them down and we're probably going to leave them blank or put up Ohio State stuff."

Justin himself said he has gotten rid of enough Michigan clothing to fill two suitcases. The plan is to donate the clothing to a homeless shelter somewhere in Columbus, he said.

New clothes are being purchased. His father is not wearing things with the OSU logo on them yet, Zach said, but he has begun wearing scarlet and gray clothing.

"He's still working on wearing the emblem," he said. "Let's put it this way: It's definitely weird not seeing him wear a Michigan shirt all the time."

The transformation began when Justin opted to withdraw from classes in Ann Arbor and transfer into the OSU program. He will be forced to sit out a year due to transferring from one Big Ten school to another, but he will be eligible to play in 2009 as a junior.

When he steps foot on the field, he could find himself going up against his younger brother Zach, who committed to the Buckeyes on April 30 after waking up that morning, realizing it was the right thing to do and calling the OSU coaching staff.

"The coaches are great there, the tradition is amazing, even the fans are great – and who wouldn't want to join the ‘09 recruiting class?" Boren told BSB. "They're putting together a great class and every recruit in the nation would want to join that class."

Issuing a verbal commitment to OSU would have been out of the question as recently as two years ago, he said.

"It's been real strange," he said. "It's been a 180-degree turn. Two years ago I definitely couldn't see it. Maybe a year ago I could see me going to a different college other than Michigan, but I would've never expected Ohio State."

Now both he and his family have been given a second chance by switching their allegiance in the biggest rivalry in college sports. However, Zach said he sees plenty of similarities between the two universities.

"I think Coach Tressel is a great coach just like Lloyd Carr was when he got there," he said. "Of course, Jim Tressel has done a lot more than Coach Carr has but I definitely see similarities. They're both great programs. They're the best programs in the country. They definitely are similar, and that's why I think they're such big rivals because they're two great programs that are tops in the country and they both play in the Big Ten."

After starring at linebacker for Pickerington Central, Zach Boren is being targeted as either a linebacker or a fullback in Columbus. Given the choice, the 6-1, 255-pound athlete said he prefers to play on defense because that is what his father raised him to do.

"They're looking at me at both (fullback and linebacker)," he said. "I've grown up playing defense my whole life and that's what my dad taught me. Justin turned out on the other side of the ball so I could easily do that too, but however Ohio State needs me is wherever I'll end up."

Not only is he the second member of his family to join the Buckeyes, but he is the second player on his high school team to so do as well. Boren joins four-star safety prospect Jamie Wood, who also hails from Pickerington (Ohio) Central.

Wood is just one of a handful of members of the incoming class that Boren said he is developing friendships with.

"Jack Mewhort has been really cool," he said. "Johnny Simon just texted me a couple days ago. I text them and we're all starting to talk and stuff. I'm definitely close to them. Storm Klein and I have been talking for a while."

In addition, Boren said he keeps in contact with Plantation, Fla, safety Vlad Emilien, a three-star prospect who holds an offer from the Buckeyes but has not committed to them. The two met while at OSU's spring game.

For now, his focus is on his baseball season and the upcoming state playoffs. In addition, Zach said he is training for football and will be taking part in a Nike combine and a Scout.com one as well.

It's all part of the transformation process.


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