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NFL Man of the Year Nominees 2022 | Buccaneers |


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FL - October 10, 2022 - Defensive Lineman William Gholston #92 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with students from Young Middle School and their mentors during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Youth Leadership program at AdventHealth Training Center. Photo By Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TAMPA, FL - October 10, 2022 - Defensive Lineman William Gholston #92 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with students from Young Middle School and their mentors during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Youth Leadership program at AdventHealth Training Center. Photo By Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

William Gholston


Table inside Article
Position College Years in the NFL
Defensive End Michigan State 10

Excellence on the Field:

Drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft (126th overall), William Gholston has been a vital part of the of the Bucs' defense for 10 seasons and was a starter for the defense that led the Buccaneers to victory in Super Bowl LV by holding Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs to only 9 points in 2020. He is the second longest tenured Buccaneer on the roster, trailing only All-Pro inside linebacker Lavonte David. Will played in all 16 games with eight starts in 2019, establishing himself as a key contributor for the NFL's top-ranked rush defense. On September 12th, 2019, he collected a career-high 12 tackles vs. Carolina, including a game-clinching stop of Christian McCaffery on 4th-and-1 from the Tampa Bay two-yard line with 1:22 remaining. In over 100 career NFL games played, he has also been an important special teams' asset, notching four blocked kicks.

Dedication & Commitment to Community Efforts This Year:

Since his rookie year in 2013, Will has made it an annual tradition of donating Thanksgiving meals to families in both the Tampa Bay area, and in his hometown of Detroit, where he experienced food insecurity as a child. He will continue the tradition once again this season. In 2021, Will and his family donated 920 Thanksgiving meals through four food distribution events with Feeding Tampa Bay across the Tampa Bay area. He has personally committed $225,000 to Moffitt Cancer Center's George Edgecomb Society to support research into cancer health disparities in the Black community for over the next three years and toured the Moffitt facilities. Since 2015, the "Gholston's Crusaders" community ticket program has sponsored nonprofit organizations to attend all Bucs home games for the last seven seasons (each guest receives a game ticket, meal voucher and hat or t-shirt). That's over 700 experiences sponsored by Gholston. In Week 13 of the 2021 Season, Will was named the NFLPA Community MVP. He was also a top 5 finalist for the 2021 NFLP Alan Page Community award. Will supports many of the Buccaneers Team Programs. He actively leads and helps fund the annual D-Line Delivers Christmas event each year, along with supporting a mobile food pantry to fight food insecurity. Will has recently spearheaded a brand-new mobile food pantry in East Tampa as part of the Defensive Line and Buccaneers Social Justice Fund. The drive through pantry provides healthy groceries for up to 250 families twice a month for 12 months. Over the past two seasons, Will has been a mentor in the Buccaneers Youth Leadership Program, participating in virtual and in-person mentorship sessions with middle school students. Will is an active participant in the annual Cut and Color for a Cure Event event through fundraising and he also always volunteers to let the pediatric cancer patients shave his head. Each year, Will films drills that local students can try at school or home to stay in shape through elementary fitness programming Each year, Will visits with local middle school students to teach them flag football fundamentals. He has supported the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation through the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative.

Dedication & Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past:

As a rookie in 2013, Will took part in many community service events, including: visiting patients at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa; hosting an ice cream social for veterans at James Haley VA Hospital; participating in a team-building scavenger hunt with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa at Busch Gardens; hosting a bowling outing with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Tampa Bay; challenging youths from the Central City YMCA in games at a local arcade; visiting local servicemen and servicewomen at MacDill Air Force Base; hosting a "Salute to Service" Barbecue with USAA at U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg; greeting veterans at Bay Pines VA Hospital; visiting young patients over the holidays at All Children's Hospital; and singing Christmas carols to residents at Westminster Palms Retirement Home. - In February 2014, Will presented students at Pizzo Elementary with $2,000 worth of equipment for winning the Buccaneers PLAY 60 Challenge. In September 2014, he interacted with military stationed overseas through a Pro vs. GI Joe event at the Buccaneers-sponsored USO Welcome Center at Tampa International Airport. He also participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and helped build an outdoor class at Sheehy Elementary in Tampa. In October 2014, Will visited Metropolitan Ministries for the Ministries' annual Fall Festival. In September 2015, he paired up with United Way volunteers and students to install a "Learning Garden" at Davis Elementary. In October 2015, he helped hand out candy to trick-or-treaters from Buccaneers Academy schools attending Lowry Park Zoo's ZooBoo KIDS Halloween event. In November 2015, he helped deliver canned goods and toys to Metropolitan Ministries for the annual Raymond James "Sack Hunger Stack Toys" program. In October 2017, he served as an honorary starter with his mother, Dawn Ward, who is a breast cancer survivor, at the Buccaneers annual Treasure Chest 5K. October 2017. In December 2017, he partnered with United Healthcare to build a playground.

Positive Character & a Lifestyle of Giving Back:

Will exemplifies what it means to be an NFL player, both on and off the field. As a mainstay of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense for a decade, his willingness to help his teammates and the Tampa Bay community continue to shine. Will has showcased 10 seasons worth giving back to those in need, getting involved in an inspiring amount of charitable causes throughout his long NFL tenure. You won't hear him mention any of that about himself, and that humble attitude has garnered the respect of everyone within the Bucs' organization. He's proud to serve the NFL, his teammates, and the community in all aspects of his life. The Tampa Bay Bucaneers are proud to select William Gholston as their 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.