Lineman who left Michigan to play for Ohio State in 2009

Updated: April 23, 2008, 5:28 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is about to get even more interesting, now that former Wolverines player Justin Boren has decided to join the Buckeyes.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said Boren plans to play for the team after sitting out the 2008 season, as required by NCAA transfer rules.

The sophomore offensive lineman left the Michigan program last month, saying its "family values have eroded" under new coach Rich Rodriguez.

"It's exciting to be coming back home to central Ohio," Boren, who just finished the spring semester at Michigan, said in a statement through Tressel. "I am looking forward to the chance to help the Buckeyes continue their excellence in any way I can."

According to the Columbus Dispatch, which consulted an Ohio State football historian, the move is unprecedented. Jack Park, considered a Buckeyes football expert, said he did not find evidence of another high-profile player transferring from Michigan to Ohio State after World War II.

"He is just one player, but I think it's a major moment [in the history of the rivalry]," Park said in the Dispatch. "Just that it would happen is one thing. Then you throw in the fact his father [Mike Boren, who played linebacker for Bo Schembechler] had been at Michigan just makes it all the more interesting."

Park said two players -- quarterback Howard Yerges Jr. and center J.T. White -- started off at Ohio State, fought in World War II, then played at Michigan when they returned to civilian life.

Boren, who went to high school in a Columbus, Ohio, suburb, will be paying his own way at Ohio State for the rest of his collegiate career. Under Big Ten rules, he will not be able to receive an athletic scholarship from the Buckeyes.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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