Boeckman Just Wants A Chance

No Buckeye had a rougher 2008 campaign than Todd Boeckman. But rather than sulk about a season in which he lost his starting job, Boeckman went back to work and said he was in top shape as NFL scouts descended in Columbus for Ohio State's pro day late last week. Now, the St. Henry, Ohio, native just wants a chance to stick in the NFL.

After going from one of the best senior quarterbacks in college football to not even among the 300 players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, Todd Boeckman knew Ohio State's pro day on March 13 was for all the marbles.

With more than 60 NFL team representatives on hand at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Boeckman walked out to work with his Buckeye receivers with quite a few sets fixed upon him.

"This is my combine to come out here in front of all of these guys to prove that I can get the job done and go out here and play at this level," Boeckman said. "Maybe at first the nerves were shaking but once you get going it's like anything else, any sport. You're going to be relaxed as you go."

According to the 6-6 signal caller, he was able to deal with the pressure quite well. Boeckman told reporters that he ran a 4.79-second 40-yard dash, right in the range he expected and among the best for pocket passers in this draft, and threw most of his balls right on the money.

"I hit about every one of them so it felt pretty good," a clearly pleased Boeckman said. "Just having that connection and having that familiarity with the guys, it really helped out."

The St. Henry, Ohio, product showcased what he believes is an NFL arm while throwing to players like Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie on three-, five- and seven-step drops. No drills in which Boeckman threw on the run were part of the workout.

Boeckman had been looking forward to the day since completing 5 of 12 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown during his final game at Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl against Texas.

That game ended a tumultuous year for Boeckman, who entered as the Buckeye starter before throwing for two touchdowns and two picks in the first three games as the team got off to a 2-1 start that included a blowout loss to USC.

True freshman Terrelle Pryor took over as the starter at that point, leaving Boeckman to spot duty in four more games and the bench for five until that Fiesta Bowl game.

Since the season ended, Boeckman had been working out in Columbus with a number of his former teammates and the OSU training staff in an effort to get ready for pro day.

The nearly two months off weren't easy.

"We've been training here for quite a while now and we were really anxious to get out there," Boeckman said. "It seemed like it took forever for this day to come."

The final few weeks of his work caused him to strike the balance of staying in a groove with his throwing while not tiring his arm so that he would be at 100 percent when the scouts did arrive.

"The last probably three weeks or so, I tried to throw five days a week," he said. "Just not too much, just lighten the load a little bit as the days got closer."

When the day finally did occur, Boeckman was given advice from teammates who made the trip to Indianapolis for the combine.

"It just felt like a normal practice because we always have people at our practices," he said. "That was kind of my mind-set going in. Malcolm (Jenkins) said that going in, 'Just think of it like a practice because you're going to have people out there looking at you all the time.' I'm kind of used to it but I guess there is a little bit more added pressure because it could possibly be your future."

When the day was over, Boeckman said he didn't get any feedback from scouts, but he did leave with future meetings set up with Chicago and Miami and some other meetings possible as the April 25-26 NFL draft nears.

Though Boeckman lost his starting job in the 2008 season, he hopes his track record that includes a standout 2007 campaign will land him a shot. Then a junior, the one-time grayshirt threw for 2,372 yards, 25 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while earning first-team All-Big Ten honors and leading the Buckeyes to a national title game appearance.

That season ended with him being named by some outlets as the senior quarterback with the best draft status going into the 2008 season. Though the year didn't go the way he had expected, he's hoping to continue trying to prove he could be the next superstar to be taken in a low NFL draft round after the success of someone like former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady, a sixth-round choice when he began his career.

"All I need is a chance whether it's being drafted or free agency," he said. "It doesn't matter to me. I just want to get out there and prove that I can play at the next level and go from there."

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