Waiting Game Finally Over For Boeckman

Todd Boeckman waited forever just to don the scarlet and gray colors in a game that really counted and he did just that against Miami in the season opener. The redshirt freshman QB from St. Henry High School hadn't played in a game in two years but he cashed in big in his first opportunity at OSU by going 5 of 7 through the air for 67 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown, by the way, just happened to land in the hands of Ted Ginn on a 42-yard strike on Boeckman's second pass of his career.

The smile from ear to ear said it all.

With reporters huddled around him during the post-game press conference, Todd Boeckman was answering their queries in a rapid-fire fashion when he was asked what he felt like after he threw the touchdown pass to Ted Ginn on the third play of his very first possession under center for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

"I can't explain it," Boeckman said. "It just means a lot to me just to go out there and have the opportunity to play for Ohio State and play in Ohio Stadium in front of 105,000 people. Just to go out there and have that chance is just unbelievable for me. I don't know what else to say about it. It's just exciting."

Boeckman is from St. Henry, Ohio where the town bleeds scarlet and gray. Jim Lachey and the Hoying brothers, Bobby and Tommy, are a few of the former Buckeyes that hail from that football-crazed rural community in the Northwest district in Ohio. Prior to his appearance in the Miami game, Boeckman hadn't played a single down since he was in a St. Henry uniform.

"It's been quite a while since I've stepped on the football field in an actual game," Boeckman said. "But I'm just so excited right now just to have the opportunity to play for the Buckeyes, just going out there and actually playing in the game is just something else."

His prep resume while at St. Henry High School is as impressive as any. Boeckman was a four-years starter at quarterback for the Redskins and he led his team to the state championship game as a freshman. He threw for over 7,000 yards and 64 touchdowns during his varsity career. As a senior he battled back from a sprained medial collateral ligament injury to still throw for 1,415 yards and 15 TDs.

Boeckman was all-state in three sports at St. Henry and he could have legitimately pursued a professional baseball career but instead he wanted to become a Buckeye. His long and arduous journey to the season opener against the RedHawks from Miami University, through a grayshirt year and then a red one, has been well documented.

"It was tough the last couple of two or three years, just not having that opportunity to suit up and actually play in an actual game," Boeckman said. "It was tough coming in off of a season when I knew I wasn't going to play in my grayshirt year and last year I almost had an opportunity to get in. But this year I'm just going to go out there and do what I can, fight for that job, and just whatever happens, happens."

And after going 5 of 7 through the air for 67 yards against Miami, Boeckman admitted that it was well worth the wait.

"I think it was. Seeing that first touchdown I think it definitely was," said the redshirt freshman. "It just made it that much more exciting, just to wait two years and actually get a chance to play and you throw a touchdown, it's something else."

Three plays, 58 yards and a touchdown. That will forever be on record in the OSU football annals as being the first drive of Boeckman's career as the quarterback at Ohio State. After a three-yard carry by freshman running back Maurice Wells, Boeckman hooked up with Anthony Gonzalez for 13 yards and a first down at Miami's 42 yard line. Then on his second collegiate pass he hit a streaking Ginn, who was behind everybody in the secondary, for the touchdown.

"It was a designed play that's run to Ted. We were faking the corner and running a post," Boeckman said. "I saw the safety bite a little bit and once you give Ted Ginn one step, you know he's going to make that into about five. So I just wanted to go out there and just put the ball in the right place and he made a great catch."

It's safe to say that the patience that Boeckman has displayed to this point at Ohio State was rewarded in an immense way. When Justin Zwick went out of the Alamo Bowl game with a tweak to his hamstring last season, Jim Tressel put Ginn, a former high school signal caller, in at quarterback to protect Boeckman's redshirt season.

And against Miami, that same Heisman Trophy candidate of the future, who was inserted at the quarterback position against Oklahoma State so that Boeckman wouldn't have to burn his redshirt, just happened to be the one on the other end of his first collegiate touchdown pass.

"It was unbelievable. Once that ball was in the air I saw him running to the ball and I saw him open and he made that catch," Boeckman said. "It's just a great feeling inside just to get that first touchdown at Ohio Stadium because with all of those people out there it's just unbelievable."

It was a long time coming and Boeckman was obviously ready when his name was called.

"I was very excited to get my call to go in the game," he said. "I just wanted to go in there and stay relaxed, stay comfortable and do what I know how to do. I just didn't want to turn the ball over because that's a big thing in Coach Tressel's system. So I just wanted to go out there and do what I know how to do and just make the right plays."

Where Boeckman goes from here, despite his successful orientation into college football, just might be a totally different story. With Troy Smith back in the mix for the Texas game, there just may not be a whole lot of opportunity for playing time going forward for Boeckman. Traditionally Tressel sticks with one quarterback and the backup only plays on occasion.

"I'm comfortable with whatever it is," said Boeckman regarding his short-term future at Ohio State. "If it's with the one's, the two's, the three's, whatever it is they ask of me I'm going to do. Whatever the coaches want I'm going to be out there and be a team player like everybody else on this team, and just help this team win."

Boeckman has already learned, after all, that good things can truly happen to those who wait.

"Just going out there and having that chance to play is a dream come true for me," he said. "It's just an unbelievable feeling to get that chance."

There are many Ohio State who just can't wait until Boeckman gets that next one.

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