EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State junior defensive end William Gholston, who recorded 30 tackles for loss in 36 career games, has been selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth round (No. 126 overall) of the 2013 National Football League Draft Saturday, April 27. Gholston announced his decision to forgo his senior season on Jan. 4.
The 6-foot-7, 278-pound Gholston earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media for a second-straight year after leading the Spartans in tackles for loss (13 for 49 yards), sacks (4.5 for 24 yards) and pass break-ups (10). Gholston also ranked among the Big Ten leaders in tackles for loss (eighth at 1.0 per game), pass break-ups (tied for 10th) and sacks (tied for 18th at 0.35 per game).
He led the Spartan defensive linemen and finished fourth overall in tackles with 59. His 10 pass break-ups ranked first among NCAA FBS defensive linemen. Gholston recorded at least one tackle for loss in nine of MSU’s 13 games. His 177 production points ranked third on the team during the regular season.
“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.”
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. MSU’s defense limited the Horned Frogs to five first downs and 84 total yards in the second half (27 plays; 3.1 yards per play). The Spartans didn't allow any third-down conversions in the second half (0-for-7) and forced TCU to go three-and-out on 4-of-8 second-half possessions.
Gholston posted six tackles against Northwestern. His half sack (combined with junior linebacker Max Bullough) against Kain Colter resulted in a 1-yard loss and a safety in the first quarter.
He contributed five tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss, and a career-best two pass break-ups against No. 21 Nebraska.
Gholston was named the College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Lineman of the Week after tallying a season-best 4.5 tackles for loss (10 yards) in Michigan State’s 16-13 overtime win at Wisconsin. His 4.5 tackles for loss were the second most by a Big Ten player in a single game last season and rank eighth most by a Spartan defender in a single game. He totaled a career-best 36 production points against the Badgers (previous high: 34 production points vs. Ohio State, 2011).
The Detroit, Mich., native collected 142 tackles, including 30 for losses (102 yards) and 10 sacks (56 yards), in 36 career games. His 30 tackles for loss rank 10th in school history.
In two postseason bowl appearances (2012 Outback Bowl vs. Georgia and 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. TCU), Gholston produced 16 total tackles, with six resulting in losses (21 yards) including three sacks (15 yards). He also recorded two pass break-ups and returned a fumble 6 yards. Gholston sat out the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Alabama with a shoulder injury.