Josh Johnson, former Torero quarterback and College of Arts and Sciences student, is the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, Raheem Morris has a new starting quarterback and it's USD's Josh Johnson. Johnson led University of San Diego’s Torero Football for three seasons as the quarterback from 2005-2007 while he was a student at USD. This is Johnson’s second year in the NFL after being drafted in 2008.
The decision to start Johnson came after the Buccaneers loss to the New York Giants on September 27, bringing them to 0-3 for the season. Although the 23 year old Johnson is virtually untested in the NFL, Morris commented that he feels Johnson has earned a chance to start stating "I know what I’m getting from Josh". He added that with Johnson’s ability to run "he gives you the dynamic that you all know about" and "creates a better chance to break out of the pocket and make a play with his feet."
Johnson addressed the media, admitting that he was surprised yet ready for this great opportunity, in part due to the support he has received from Morris, Leftwich and the rest of the team. "We’re a close-knit team. It’s not just about me changing this thing around, it’s about all of us changing it around. We all have to come together and be better to start winning games."
Johnson takes the field with him an impressive record in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). As a Torero, Johnson held several career records at USD and in the NCAA FCS. He became the first Torero football player to be drafted by the NFL back in 2008 when he was the fifth round draft pick of the Buccaneers. He is also the first former Torero to start in the NFL. From 2005-2007 as USD’s starting quarterback he led the team to a 30-4 record and three consecutive Pioneer Football League titles. As the career leader in all major USD passing categories he also own the NCAA FCS career record passing efficiency of 176.68. Johnson also ran for 1,864 yards and 19 touchdowns during his time playing for USD. As a senior, Johnson completed 43 touchdown passes, with only one interception. Johnson finished third in voting for the Walter Payton Award as the top FCS outstanding player in the nation.
Hailed by the Buccaneers as "one of the most prolific passers in NCAA FCA history," Johnson also made an impact in the classroom. During his time at USD, Johnson studied communication studies, working closely with several faculty in that department from 2004-2008. Professor of Communication Studies Roger Pace remembers Johnson fondly, recalling that "The same skills that make Josh an excellent quarterback, dedication, intelligence, and quick-thinking, also made him an outstanding student. I always enjoyed having Josh in my class and looked forward to his contributions during discussions."
Johnson also brought an interesting perspective to his studies as a communication studies major. Associate Professor David Sullivan, who teaches a course on Media and Sports recalled that Johnson’s "personal experience as the subject of news media interviews and stories, especially as a potential high-round NFL draft pick gave him a unique perspective from which to evaluate the role and impact of media on sports and on athletes." Johnson analyzed his experience as a college athlete, aiding to his classroom discussion and contributing to his overall success as a Torero.