Zach's father, Mike, was a linebacker at Michigan who had a potential NFL career thwarted by a knee injury. His brother, Justin, was an offensive lineman who signed with the Wolverines before transferring to Ohio State (due to his unhappiness with head coach Rich Rodriguez) and eventually hooking on with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. But Zach decided to stay close to home, signing with the Buckeyes -- and OSU running backs greatly appreciate his presence when escorting them through the hole. His combination of tough lead-blocking, receiving ability and special teams acumen could make him a starter for one of the few remaining teams regularly utilizing a fullback.
Boren was Ohio's Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, as well as one of the state's top baseball players. But coaches put him in the fullback spot as a true freshman, starting him five times in 13 games and using him as an occasional receiver (4 receptions, 23 yards, one touchdown). Boren started 10 games in 2010, catching a career-high 10 passes for 68 yards, and earned 12 starts as a junior (6-60 receiving). Anticipating being used in a different role for new head coach Urban Meyer's offense, Boren dropped approximately 25 pounds before the 2012 season. Boren's role on offense didn't change much in terms of touching the football, as he carried the ball 11 times for 33 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to five catches for 42 yards. However, Boren ended up playing middle linebacker later on in the year due to a number of Ohio State injuries.
Utilized as a lead-blocker from I-formation and H-back spot during his career. Brings attitude to his blocks, dropping his hips to explode into the chest of bigger defenders to knock them backwards. Athletic enough to stay on linebacker blocks throughout a play if he chooses. Presents a good target out of the backfield, possessing flexibility to adjust to throws while turned and solid hands. Has some quickness into his route and agility to make a defender miss, and can run through an arm tackle for the extra yard. Also uses flexibility to adjust to oncoming defenders as a lead blocker, chipping them off their route to the ball. Anchors against blitzers in pass protection.Will contribute on special teams coverage units. Showed awareness and agility as a linebacker.
A bit shorter than teams prefer as an H-back. Does not have a lot of experience carrying the ball. Needs to prove he can be effective in short yardage situations. Could stay on his blocks more consistently, at times preferring to punch instead of latching on, allowing his man to get back into plays. Lack of experience at the linebacker position.
The Ohio Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in high school took to his new role of fullback immediately, and has proven the blocking skills to stick at the position. However, his emergence at linebacker for the Buckeyes towards the end of his season will perhaps entice teams to use him there. Regardless, Boren will find at the very least be able to find a role in the NFL based upon his special-teams ability.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.