Most Important Buckeyes: No. 11
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS — Another player who seems like he should be at the top of our countdown of the Top 20 Most Important Buckeyes for 2012 is fullback Zach Boren.
Few players at Ohio State mean more, at least from a leadership standpoint, than Boren, who is one of only two seniors in the Buckeyes’ projected starting lineup heading into the season.
The other senior is tight end Jake Stoneburner, who spent his summer trying to earn back a scholarship from head coach Urban Meyer.
Because he plays fullback, and we don’t know exactly what that will look like in Meyer’s offense, Boren comes in at No. 11 on our countdown of the most important Buckeyes.
What Makes Him Important
and Urban Meyer
Photo by Jim Davidson
Boren is an Urban Meyer kind of guy. He brings toughness, he brings attitude and he brings a lead-by-example mentality that has already rubbed off on younger backs like Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith.
The Buckeyes are counting on Boren to be their rock offensively, and they are going to ask him to do more than just the hard-nosed blocking he has done in the past. It’s easy to forget Boren has been Ohio State’s starting fullback since his freshman season back in 2009.
He has only carried the ball once in his first three seasons with the Buckeyes, but that is almost certain to change in 2012 as Meyer looks to utilize any potential weapons he may have at his disposal offensively.
What Can Be Expected Of Him
A slimmed down Zach Boren checks into the team hotel for fall camp.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Boren dropped 20 pounds this offseason after he spoke to Meyer about having an expanded role in the offense. He looks good, and said he feels better than he can ever remember feeling—not just on the football field.
“I can even feel it going up stairs,” Boren said last month.
“Everything's a lot easier than it was. I'm a lot faster than I was last year. I'm a lot quicker, more agile. Hopefully it shows during the season.”
Giving the ball to the fullback has become a rarity at Ohio State since the days of Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce, but it looks like Meyer is serious about getting No. 44 the rock. He has been getting some carries early in fall camp, and it looks like they want to use him in the red zone.
Boren may also get a chance to take a direct snap near the goal line, ala quarterback Tim Tebow while he was at Florida.
“I think I'm going to be used in a lot of different ways this year, kind of like a hybrid,” Boren said.
“I don't think my role will truly come out until Sept. 1 against Miami. I was thinking like Wild Tiger or something like that. It's got to be something manlier.”
What Would the Buckeyes Do Without Him
For starters, it would give them one less playmaker on offense and one less leader in the locker room. That’s where the Buckeyes would really feel Boren’s absence. This team needs as many rock-solid guys as they can get after what the program went through a year ago.
Boren is as rock-solid as they come.
Most Important: No. 12 C.J. Barnett
Most Important No. 13 Devin Smith
Most Important: No. 14 Corey Brown
Most Important: No. 15 Jordan Hall
Most Important: No. 16 Christian Bryant
Most Important: No. 17 Reid Fragel
Most Important: No. 18 Ben Buchanan
Most Important: No. 19 Michael Bennett
Most Important: No. 20 Drew Basil
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