In just a span of seven months, Floyd Central offensive lineman Zen Michalski’s world has drastically changed. He’s picked up nearly 30 scholarship offers from Division I schools since February, most of them during the pandemic, just one year after switching his position from defense.
At the end of his junior year last season, all he wanted was one Division II school to notice him.
On Saturday, Michalski opened a new chapter of his career when he announced his commitment to The Ohio State University. He chose the Buckeyes over Florida State, Louisville and Penn State.
“I chose Ohio State because it was a perfect mix of everything I wanted in a school. It’s pretty close to home. I have a lot of family up there in Ohio. It’s great education too,” he said. “Mainly, it was the coaches. They’re some of the best people I’ve talked to in this whole process. If I want to go play somewhere where I’m going to develop the right way and be the best I can possibly be, it’s Ohio State.”
The 6-foot-8, 280-pound left tackle said he visited Ohio State last Sunday to get a feel for the campus before making his decision.
“What I was looking for is — it’s weird to explain — that feeling,” he said. “I had gone up there and it felt like home. It felt like I have lived there for a while. It was perfect everywhere. The campus was awesome, and the city was awesome. It was impossible to say no.”
Coaches at Ohio State have told the senior that his combination of size and athleticism attracted them. Floyd Central football coach James Bragg has been praising his footwork and athleticism as well.
Michalski has gone through a body transformation at Floyd Central. In two years, he’s gained around 100 pounds while also growing four to five more inches to add to his frame.
“I put on a lot of weight in the offseason but everyone questioned, ‘How is he going to play with this weight. How is he going to still move like he did? Is he still going to be as agile?’” he said. “(Ohio State) had watched my film last year and saw how my body develop but they wanted to see it on the field. In the first couple of games, they really looked at how I progressed with the weight and think I have a high ceiling. You can only get to your highest point at the best place.”
Coaches at Ohio State began recruiting him during his senior season and told Michalski that they watched his every game and snap and that he earned the scholarship offer from his play from the first few games of the 2020 season.
Previously, the left tackle announced his verbal commitment to Louisville in April. Since then, he’s picked up offers from Ohio State, Florida State and Penn State. His stock has continued to increase as well, becoming a four-star recruit and the third-ranked prospect in his class in the state of Indiana, according to 247Sports.
Michalski is the second Floyd Central player to commit to a Big Ten school in 2020. Kicker Cole Hussung committed to Michigan in January.
“It’s definitely cool to see how the community has rallied around me through the whole process. I’m grateful for it. From the outside point of view, it looks like super fun and it is fun at times, but it’s extremely stressful too,” Michalski said. “I remember during quarantine, we would have virtual learning and I would have six or seven calls that I had forgotten about. It’s stressful. It helped me manage time honestly. The process was fun but I’m happy that it’s over, honestly.”
Michalski will be enrolling early in January, eager to get to work.
“It’s a privilege. I need development and being a very young offensive lineman, that’s something extremely important to me,” he said. “To be the best you can possibly be, you want to play with some of the best players in the planet. No better place to find that than Ohio State. I’m excited to get to work. I know it’s going to be a long road.”