When Terry Bowden accepted the job as football coach at the University of Akron, he said that he would hit Western Pennsylvania hard in recruiting and that one of the keys would involve getting the word out about Zips football.
That plan appears to be working.
Brock Boxen, a product of Beaver Falls High School, committed to the Zips over the weekend and Chandler Kincade, a quarterback from a different school in the same area, seemed to have just a little bit to do with the decision.
“I’ve taken more than a few college visits and I just went to Akron because I heard Chandler Kincade committed. We live in the same town but go to different schools,” Boxen said during a recent phone interview. “I knew he was going to Akron so I knew there must be something special going on. I went and I liked it. I ended up liking it better than any other school I’ve been to.”
Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and a two-star recruit by Scout.com, Boxen, a 6-foot-2 defensive tackle, could play an integral role in helping to rebuild the Zips should he follow through with his commitment.
Until he signs a national letter of intent in February he can change his mind.
Help for the defensive line
The defensive line is one area of the team that has lacked depth. The addition of Florida State transfer Moses McCray helps that situation, but he will move on after this year.
Then there is the beast known as Nico Caponi, who will finish his Zips career this year. There will be an opportunity for Boxen to come into UA and make a push for some playing time.
“They’re trying to build the program up,” he said of Bowden and his coaching staff. “I talked to the defensive line coach and he said that pretty much the whole defensive line is seniors and they really need to recruit people in. He said I [could] get a lot of reps and possibly start next year. It’s good. With the bigger schools I was looking at like Penn State, I would go there, but I wouldn’t have a chance to start.”
Boxen plays defensive tackle for Beaver Falls, but he also possesses the speed (4.6 in the 40-yard dash) that might allow him some flexibility.
The UA staff has not told him where they want him to play yet and they cannot comment because of NCAA rules.
What Boxen knows is that he’s an aggressive player who is also versatile.
“I like to look at myself as a combination,” he said. “I’m 260. I don’t know what they’ll have me as, defensive tackle or defensive end, but I run like 4.6 [in the 40-yard dash] and I’m strong, so I can put a move on somebody. It’s just a culmination of everything. I’m quick. I’m strong. It’s pretty much a combination.”
He has no plans to graduate early and enroll at UA for spring semester next year, so the first time fans will get a look at him is at training camp next August.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.