It’s amazing to think that at one point in his life, Vernon Gholston didn’t even watch football. It’s even more amazing to think that he was once kicked off his high school football team because he wasn’t tough enough.
While growing up in Detroit, Gholston loved playing and witching basketball and wrestling. It wasn’t until his sophomore year in high school that the coach at Cass Tech convinced him to play football.
Gholston’s father died when he was in eighth grade, so in the beginning football was just used to fill the void. But after being kicked off the team by his defensive coordinator for not showing enough toughness, Gholston realized that the game could become much more than a break from reality. Although completely dejected, Gholston pleaded with his head coach to let him back on the team. His coach complied, and soon enough Gholston became much more than just a raw talent.
After playing guard for most of his sophomore and junior seasons, Gholston switched to linebacker as a senior, and he flourished. His blend of size and speed made for one of hell of an edge rusher, and after a productive senior year he started to get scholarship offers.
Even though he was born and raised in Detroit, the University of Michigan showed little to no interest in the Cass Tech product. But rival Ohio State did, and Gholston eventually rewarded the program that showed so much faith in him.
In 2006 while at OSU, he was named to the All-Big Ten Conference Second Team, voted on by coaches and the media. In 2007, Gholston was named to Pro Football Weekly’s College Football All-American Team. He also tied two Buckeye team records for quarterback sacks in a game when he dropped Wisconsin’s Tyler Donovan four times for total losses of 32 yards.
In his final season at OSU, Gholston recorded 37 tackles (including 15.5 for a loss) and set a school record with 14 sacks in 13 games, breaking Mike Vrabel’s 1995 mark of 13 sacks in a single season. Not bad for a guy who was once kicked off his high school team for not being tough enough.
When the season concluded, Gholston declared for the 2008 NFL Draft and is now regarded as a sure-fire first round pick. Some even believe he’ll be selected among the top five picks.
Scouts are infatuated with his size (6-foot-4, 264 pounds), strength (he benched 37 reps at 225 pounds at the NFL scouting combine in April) and speed (4.5 in the 40-yard dash). He’s projected to be a defensive end, but given his size and speed, he’s versatile enough to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. While some scouts believe he relies too much on his physical talent, he’s a tremendous athlete and, better yet, very humble off the field.
With the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the New York Jets tabbed Gholston to play either outside linebacker or defensive end in their 3-4 scheme.
Gholston on the Web
Official Ohio State Player Bio: Vernon Gholston
The official Web site for the Ohio State Buckeyes recaps Gholston’s yearly accomplishments, as well as listing his stats and collegiate achievements.
Vernon Gholston’s Wikipedia Page
Find an in-depth bio as well as interesting articles about Gholston at his Wikipedia page.
Check out this YouTube.com clip of Gholston overpowering Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long and running back Michael Hart on the way to pressuring the quarterback.
NFL Draft Countdown Player Profile: Vernon Gholston
Learn about Gholston’s strengths, weakness and what scouts are saying about the NFL prospect at Scott Wright’s NFL Draft Countdown draft site.
Latest on Gholston
Gholston was selected by the New York Jets with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He'll play either outside linebacker or defensive end in the Jets' 3-4 defensive front.
News and Commentary
Jets make fans happy, take DE Vernon Gholston with sixth pick
The Jets tabbed Vernon Gholston with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Coach: Gholston better than his numbers
Jim Tressel, Vernon Gholston's head coach at Ohio State, says his former player defensive player is better than his college stats indicate.
Vernon Gholston: A man of few words
Ken Gordon of the Buckeye Extra writes about Gholston’s humble manner off the field, but dominant play on it.
A chat with former OSU DE Vernon Gholston
ESPN readers got the chance to hurl questions at former Ohio State Buckeye Vernon Gholston after he completed the NFL scouting combine in February.
After a slow journey to football, Gholston rushes to success
Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN writes about Vernon Gholston’s long path into football and the success he’s had since finding the game.
Vernon Gholston on fast track after slow start
The Cleveland Plain Dealer writes about how Gholston was once kicked off his high school football team for not being tough enough, but now has emerged as one of the best defensive players in the NFL draft.
Head-2-Head: Long vs. Gholston
FOX Sports.com breaks down a comparison between Virginia defensive end Chris Long and Ohio State’s Vernon Gholston.
On his generally quiet nature:
“I get fired up, but it will be more subtle than anything. My emotion comes from pride and going out there trying to dominate. … I have my moments, too. I don't get as riled up as Malcolm, but I go out there and have intensity.”
On his favorite memory from the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry:
“My favorite memory would be winning them. I went 4-0 against Michigan, me being from Michigan, that's a big thing going home. Being at OSU, we pride ourselves on beating them. It's great.”
On what he thinks the biggest adjustment will be from college to the pros:
“The biggest adjustment will have to be that it's strictly a business. On any given day, you can be cut from a team. In college, you're with a team for pretty much four years.”