All-Time Greatest – No. 28: Joe Germaine

BuckeyeSports.com counts down the days until Ohio State's 2008 season opener with its list of the 50 greatest Buckeyes of all-time. The series continues today with No. 28: quarterback Joe Germaine.

You could probably count on one hand the number of junior college transfers who have made an impact on Ohio State football. But Joe Germaine wasn't just any junior college transfer. In fact, he came from virtually nowhere to become one of the most prolific – and beloved – quarterbacks in school history.

Born Aug. 11, 1975, Joe Berton Germaine was a two-sport star at Mountain View High School in Mesa, Ariz. In fact, he was such a highly rated pitching and third base prospect that the Colorado Rockies drafted him out of high school.

But Germaine had his sights set on playing quarterback for a major college program after setting career records at Mountain View, completing 59 percent of his attempts for 3,782 yards and 39 touchdowns.

There was only one problem – no one wanted to give him that chance. Arizona State offered him one of its last scholarships in 1994, but the Sun Devils wanted him to play defensive back. As a result, Germaine decided to attend junior college in hopes of bettering his chances at a shot at playing QB for a Division I-A school.

He stayed close to home and enrolled at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College where he earned that shot. In one game against Arizona Western, Germaine set a national JUCO record by completing 49 passes in a 40-39 victory.

He threw for 2,729 yards and 15 TDs that year, getting notice from several college programs including Ohio State. He transferred to the Buckeyes in 1995 and spent a redshirt year running the scout team.

Beginning in 1996, he started as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart but quickly moved up to No.2 when Mark Garcia was injured in fall camp. Working all season as the backup to starter Stanley Jackson, Germaine proved that he was worthy of being a major college QB. He played 12 games that year and completed 80 of 147 pass attempts for 1,193 yards and 15 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

In the 1997 Rose Bowl, Germaine's star really began to shine. Coming off the bench in the fourth quarter, he engineered a 12-play, 65-yard drive that culminated in a 5-yard touchdown pass to David Boston to grab a 20-17 victory away from Arizona State, the team that only wanted him as a defensive back.

It was a particularly satisfying performance for Germaine, who was named the most outstanding player of the game after completing 9 of 17 passes for 131 yards and two TDs.

The following year, Germaine and Jackson shared the quarterbacking duties and the Buckeyes finished with a 10-3 season. Germaine threw for another 1,847 yards and 16 TDs that season, but the team lost to Michigan in the regular-season finale and to Florida State in the Sugar Bowl after rising as high as No. 4 in the polls.

With Jackson gone in 1998, Germaine had the starting quarterback job all to himself and he proceeded to have the most productive single season any Ohio State QB has ever had. As one of the team captains, he set 11 different school records on his way to throwing for 3,330 yards and 25 touchdowns.

He directed an offense that was amazingly consistent and averaged 35.8 points per game. Unfortunately, a perfect season and potential national championship was lost in a 28-24 upset at the hands of Michigan State. But Germaine finished his career with a 31-16 victory over Michigan and a 24-14 win over Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl.

Germaine was named the Big Ten's offensive player of the year in 1998 as well as the conference MVP.

He started only 13 games in his three-year career for OSU, but finished with 439 completions in 741 attempts for 6,370 yards and 56 touchdowns. His career completion percentage of 59.2 is the second-best in school history while his yardage total is third-best behind Art Schlichter (7,547, 1978-81) and Bobby Hoying (7,232, 1992-95).

His touchdown total is just one behind Hoying, the OSU career leader in that category.

Following his college career, Germaine was a fourth-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in the 1999 NFL draft. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Rams during his rookie season, seeing action in three games and completing 9 of 16 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown.

He spent two seasons with the Rams before moving on to Kansas City in 2001. The Chiefs released him and he signed a contract with Cincinnati in 2002, but left the team after the Bengals drafted Carson Palmer with the No. 1 pick of the 2003 NFL draft.

Despite leaving the NFL behind, Germaine has remained in professional football as one of the most prolific passers in the Arena Football League, playing first for the Arizona Rattlers and the past three years for the Utah Blaze. In 2007, he became the first AFL quarterback to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a single season.

His five-year career arena league stats include throwing for 14,416 yards and 290 TDs.

Yesterday: No. 29 Bob Ferguson

Tomorrow: No. 27


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