Photo of William Gholston
Drafted By: Buccaneers

Combine Results

74.1 ?
  • 4.96 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 23 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 28.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 110.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.20 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.59 SEC
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"He's gifted from a genetics perspective. He flashes greatness, but he doesn't do it consistently." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'6" Height
  • 34" Arm Length
  • 281LBS. Weight
  • 10 3/8" Hands


As if his 6-foot-7, 275-pound frame wasn’t enough to grab the attention of NFL scouts, Gholston’s surname immediately raises eyebrows –- he’s the cousin of 2008 New York Jets first-round pick Vernon Gholston. In most cases, sharing a name with a former first-round pick is a bonus. But the fact that Vernon did not get a sack in his short three-year stint with the Jets and could not secure a job during the 2011 season probably won’t help his cousin’s stock.

Gholston had a rough childhood, bouncing from home to home until he eventually was taken in by his high school coach. He became the top prospect out of Michigan in 2010 (he had 27 sacks as a senior at Detroit Southeast), so it was no surprise when got on the field as a true freshman. He had 13 tackles (0.5 sack) in 10 games before tearing his left labrum (shoulder) against Minnesota. Gholston recovered from surgery well enough to start 12 games in 2011, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors with 70 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five sacks. His five tackles for loss and two sacks helped the Spartans beat Georgia 33-30 in the Outback Bowl. He made his biggest headlines in 2011, however, for his one-game suspension for punching Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan and twisting quarterback Denard Robinson’s helmet during last fall’s always-chippy rivalry game. Gholston's junior season saw him record 59 tackles (13 for loss), and only 4.5 sacks, but an impressive 10 passes batted down.

In 2012, Gholston was a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the media, but honorable mention by the coaches. He finished his career in East Lansing with 10 sacks and 30 tackles for losses in 36 games.



Looks the part of an NFL starter, with height, length, and a strong overall build. Holds the line and edge well when on his game, uses strong hands and long arms to get leverage. Very agile for his size, can move with tight ends and running backs in the flat, hurdle cut blockers, and stunt with explosiveness. Can be quick in short spaces once he's in motion.


Struggles to use his hands to disenage. Play seems to stop after making contact too often. Very leggy out of his stance, takes too many steps to get started. Loses his balance trying to turn the corner.

NFL Comparison

Cory Redding

Bottom Line

Gholston towers over many of his opponents, and flashes the agility, and understanding of leverage to be an impactful player. However, he tries to run around opponents far too often instead of disengaging with his hands. Very likely will have to bulk up and play 3-4 defensive end (five-technique) in the pros.
Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.