William Gholston is yet another interesting defensive line prospect. He seems to have the build and frame to play multiple roles in multiple defensive schemes. However, a lack of production at Michigan State has given us some doubt about his ability to transition to the National Football League.
The demand is definitely there for someone as versatile as Gholston, but will he be able to prove his worth at the next level? That's the larger question.
Here are five things you need to know about the Michigan State product as he enters the NFL.
Full Name: William Gholston
Birth date: July 31, 1991
Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
High School: Southeastern High School
Major: Human development and family studies
According to Rivals.com, William Gholston was the No. 21 overall recruit and No. 1 nationally ranked defensive end in 2010. He had a plethora of different scholarship offers from some of the top collegiate football programs in the nation, including Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and Southern California.
Gholston decided to remain close to his hometown of Detroit by enrolling in Michigan State.
While Gholston did declare for the NFL draft a year early, he still plans on obtaining his degree from Michigan State at some point in the near future.
It's about the things I can do, and the other things in my life I have to take care of,'' Gholston said. "But I know I can graduate on time. I may have a year and a semester left (to get a degree).
2010 (Freshman): 10 games, 13 tackles, three solo, 0.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.
2011 (Sophomore): 13 games, 70 tackles, 36 solo, 16 for loss, five sacks, three quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.
2012 (Junior): 13 games, 59 tackles, 23 solo, 13 for loss, 4.5 sacks, five quarterback hurries and 10 passes broken up.
Despite being so highly recruited, Gholston saw limited playing time as a freshman in 2010. He was mostly a special teams player and came in to spell what was a veteran-laden defensive line. It's the following season that saw him make a huge impact.
The talented youngster finished sixth on Michigan State in tackles, second in tackles for loss and second in sacks as a sophomore in 2011. This performance earned him All-Big Ten honors (second team).
While most of his generic numbers decreased this past season, Gholston was a force against the pass. He broke up a team-high 10 passes from the defensive end position, which is simply amazing.
All statistics provided by CFB Stats
Weight: 281 pounds
Arm Length: 34.0"
Hand Size: 10 3/8"
Broad Jump: 110.0"
40-Yard Dash: 4.96
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.59
Three Cone-Drill: 7.20
Vertical Jump: 28.5"
Bench Press: 23 reps at 225
Gholston finished in the latter half of the combine among defensive linemen in every single generic category. This had to be a disappointment for someone that went into the annual event in Indianapolis with expectations of impressing scouts enough that he'd be considered a high-round pick.
Needless to say, it just didn't happen for him there.
Rob Rang of CBS Sports had an interesting take following another pedestrian performance by Gholston at Michigan State's pro day:
Defensive end William Gholston failed to improve his times in the 40-yard dash or short shuttle Wednesday after posting somewhat pedestrian times in each of these drills at the combine. The lack of explosiveness demonstrated in these drills won't significantly harm Gholston's stock as the 6-6, 273-pounder is more of a power-based five-technique defensive end than a speed rusher.
It must be noted that generic numbers don't mean a lot when it comes to prospects like Gholston. He more than makes up for that with strength and build at the line of scrimmage.
All measurements and combine numbers provided by NFL.com
As a senior at Southeastern High School in Detroit, Gholston put up some ridiculous numbers, absolutely dominating opposing offensive players. He recorded a whopping 115 tackles, including 44 for loss, 27 sacks and 10 forced fumbles (via Michigan State).
His cousin, Vernon Gholston, was the No. 6 overall pick of the New York Jets in 2008. He failed to record a sack and started just five games in three NFL seasons. For William, let's all hope his NFL career turns out a little better.
Prior to a pedestrian combine performance, many had concluded that William Gholston was going to be a top-50 pick. Russ Lande of National Football Post indicated as much back in February:
The Combine is big for Gholston as he needs to prove to teams that he has the fire to be the player he was in 2011 and will be able to maintain a high level of intensity and competitiveness once he gets paid. If he interviews well and impresses during the workout he could put himself back in position to be a late first or high second round pick.
Following lackluster performances in Indianapolis, many have dropped Gholston completely out of the first two rounds.
B/R's very own Matt Miller has the Michigan State product ranked 182nd overall on his final big board of 2013.
While that might be buying a bit low on the talented defensive end, I can see exactly where Miller is coming from. Gholston just hasn't been that impressive on tape and really struggled to take his game to the next level this past season.
He doesn't get low enough on the blocker too often, struggles standing too upright and won't push off the line in short order. These are three things that really drive scouts crazy considering that Gholston is considered a power rusher.
Vincent Frank is an NFL featured columnist here at Bleacher Report. Vincent is the head sports editor over at eDraft, co-host of Draft Sports Radio, which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET, and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus.
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