Welcome to Part III of this ten-part series.
As previously stated, I will continue to repost the opening few paragraphs from Part I in all ten segments in the event that a new reader who may have missed a previous segment begins to follow along. So if you've been following from the beginning, please bear with me and thanks!
First off, let me say this article is not for die-hard Ohio State fans. I suspect you will know the players I highlight.
Instead, I wrote this in response to my recent preview article about the OSU/USC football matchup in Columbus this fall. A lot has been made by non-OSU fans of how USC will be reloaded as usual, and thus, many of these people believe that Ohio State will have zero chance of beating the Trojans.
Pretty much everyone who isn't a Buckeye fan seems to believe this, but the problem is, they are overlooking the fact that USC lost far more than OSU and OSU reloads just as well as USC!
They are also making a generalization about how good or how not-so-good the Buckeyes will be based on Ohio State's big-stage losses, starting with Florida in the 2006 BCS title game and culminating with their lopsided loss in Los Angeles last September.
They are also focusing on the players OSU is losing and aren't looking at the players who are here and ready to start, including several key guys from the last two highly-regarded recruiting classes. That's where I come in!
To help educate those doom-and-gloom prognosticators who make those type of general statements about the Buckeyes 2009 season outlook, I've decided to create a 10-part series to spotlight 10 players who will make a name for themselves nationally and s sufficiently fill the holes left by the likes of Beanie Wells, James Laurinaitus, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Freeman, Alex Boone, Brian Robiskie, etc.
Obviously, no Buckeye fan, player, or coach will deny that losing Beanie Wells is beyond huge. But remember, Terrelle Pryor is an amazing dual-threat quarterback who will carry the load more often in 2009 if needed. But he's not the only potential game-breaking playmaker that will see action for the Buckeyes!
No. 8—Justin Boren, OL, (6'4, 315)
It's likely that not many fans outside of Ohio and Michigan know a lot about Justin Boren.
He is from Pickerington, Ohio, near Columbus, where he was a four-year varsity starter and letter winner, a two-time All-Ohio selection in 2005 and 2006, a Parade Magazine All-American, and a participant in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2006.
He was rated the No. 1 center prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, a five-star and top 25 recruit by Scout.com, and was considered the fourth-best overall player in Ohio. He was also listed in both the Rivals and ESPN Top 100.
He is probably one of the most hated players that will ever wear the Scarlet and Gray, and I suppose with good reason.
If you are unfamiliar with the story, the long and short of it is, after H.S., Boren signed to play football at the University of Michigan. He was a starting O-lineman for the Wolverines in 2006 and 2007, earning varsity letters both years.
Soon after Rich Rodriguez was hired in 2008 to replace the "retiring" Lloyd Carr, Boren decided he did not want to play for Rodriguez, and so he chose to transfer, to of all places, Ohio State. You can see why this doesn't sit well with UM fans.
His brother Zach, a DL/LB, is a member of OSU's 2009 recruiting class. I'm not sure if Zach came to OSU because of Justin, or if Justin came to OSU because of Zach, but I'm happy to have them both!
After sitting out the '08 season per NCAA rules, Boren is poised and ready to anchor a young, but very highly touted offensive line for the Buckeyes in 2009!
Alongside Jim Cordle, Michael Brewster, Bryant Browning, Mike Adams and possibly J.B. Shugarts, who returns from injury, Boren should be the leader of this Ohio State line, a line that could end up being one of the best in the nation!
The last couple of seasons, the Buckeye O-line has vastly underperformed, so it's exciting to have Boren here.
His attitude and nastiness are a welcome change, and he should be able to teach, mold, and lead the other talented, but young, aforementioned linemen who will line up beside him this season in Columbus!
As always, thanks for reading. Please post your thoughts!
Part IV: Coming soon!