William Gholston knew he would take on the next level of his football career on January 4, 2013, when he announced his decision to forgo his senior season as a defensive end for Michigan State football. On Saturday, April 27, Gholston was selected No. 126 overall, in the 4th round, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and his advancement to the NFL became official, while leaving behind an impacted Spartan Nation.
The 6-foot-7, 278-pound junior earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media for the second-straight year, honorable mention accolades from the coaches, and was a quarterfinalist for the Lombardi Award for the college lineman of the year.
Gholston is a three-year letterwinner, collecting a total of 142 tackles, including 30 for loss, and 10 sacks in 36 career games and 24 starts. He finished his career ranked 10th in MSU history in tackles for loss, finishing 8th in the Big Ten in that category this season. Gholston also led the Spartan team with 4.5 sacks and ranked 4th on the team in tackles with 59.
“Will Gholston anchored a defensive line that helped Michigan State rank No. 1 in the Big Ten in rush defense, total defense and scoring defense and finished among the NCAA’s Top 10 in all those categories,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. “He’s an active player, who consistently provided a physical presence at the point of attack. Will has a tremendous upside and the physical skills to become a consistent playmaker.”
In his last college bowl game, Gholston was named Defensive Player of the Game after recording a season-high nine tackles, including a 5-yard sack, in MSU’s one-point win over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. With Gholston’s help, MSU’s defense held the Horned Frogs to five first downs and only 84 total yards in the second half, with no successful third down conversions for TCU.
On January 2, 2012, William Gholson earned two career highs in the 33-30 win over Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl. He recorded 5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks against the highly-touted Bulldogs. He also recorded 15 tackles against Nebraska on Oct. 29, 2011, his career-high.
“This is the best feeling in the world!” Gholston tweeted shortly after Tampa Bay’s announcement, with many more exclamation points included. “I just wanna be productive overall. I know I have a lot of work to do and I’m going to put in the work,” he said to a slightly saddened Spartan nation to see him leave. Coach Dantonio also made it very clear that he would miss Gholston saying, “I appreciate his trust and effort. He is a tremendous teammate and coaches love working with him. He will continue to work extremely hard and do what he loves to do, play football.” Spartan fans will miss Gholston in green and white, but should be excited to see what he brings to NFL in 2013, while always representing Michigan State. “He’s a Spartan forever,” concluded Dantonio.
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