COLUMBUS – Ohio State’s coaches should have known. Being undersized — or at least being called undersized — was only going to make Jacoby Boren fight harder.
At 6-feet, 1-inch and 285 pounds, Boren is undersized only by big-time college football standards.
OSU’s four other starting offensive linemen are all at least two inches taller than Boren, the Buckeyes’ starting center, and weigh from 15 to 30 pounds more.
“He is what he is, he’s undersized as far as maybe the prototype offensive lineman at places like Ohio State,” said OSU offensive line coach Ed Warinner. “But that isn’t always the measuring stick.
“You could be 6-8 and be a bad tackle and you can be 6-3 and be a great tackle. I’ve had tall centers that weren’t very good and short centers that were really good,” he said.
Boren is the third of three Boren brothers to start at Ohio State since 2009.
Justin was a starting offensive lineman in 2009 and 2010 after transferring from Michigan, where his dad, Mike, played linebacker for Bo Schembechler, and his mom, Hope, ran track.
Zach was a four-year starter at fullback before switching to linebacker during Ohio State’s undefeated season in 2012.
It was at home with Justin, who is six years older, and Zach, who is three years older, that Jacoby learned about competing while at a size disadvantage. There was no backing down, even against his oldest brother.
“I used to get my butt kicked every day when I was younger so I’ve always had kind of fighting mentality,” he said.
“I think that is something where, ever since I was younger, I was getting beat on by my two older brothers. I’ve always been backed up into the corner and had to fight. They beat me up pretty good when I was younger.
“It has made me stronger. It’s something, looking back now, that I appreciate,” he said.
Jacoby Boren was a backup his first two years before taking over this year at center for Corey Linsley, now the starting center for the Green Bay Packers.
He says he got much more than lessons in toughness from his older brothers.
“Having those two there to guide me through the last two years and in high school has been a great help to me and it has helped me grow,” Boren said.
Those lessons have helped make Boren a leader on OSU’s team in his first year as a starter, Warinner said.
“Jacoby leads by example. That’s an often used phrase. But everybody knows that he’ll be the first guy to show up in here (the Woody Hayes Center). He’ll watch extra film. He’ll understand what’s going on.
“He’s playing extremely well, at a high level. He’s very physical. We’re getting everything out of him that we can and that’s really good,” Warinner said.