A conversation with Vernon Gholston

The Jets are still in need of a dynamic pass rusher, and Ohio State's Vernon Gholston could help them in the draft. Here is a conversation with the Detroit-native:

Q)What position do you see yourself playing on the next level - linebacker or defensive end? Gholston: I did 'em both in college. It's really wherever the team puts me. The biggest thing is I'm capable of playing both positions.

Q)Why did you leave school early?

Gholston: Just thinking about it after the national championship game, I felt like it was my time. I had a great career at Ohio State. Of course there were family issues, but also I thought about my teammates. There were a lot of guys who weren't able to play as much this year as they wanted to because guys like me, James Laurinitis, other guys were on the field. It gives them a chance to get out there and play.

Q)What do you remember about beating Jake Long for a sack -- one of only two he allowed in his career?

Gholston: That was a big battle for me. I know, going back to the previous year, he was tough competition. He kicked back in pass protection and it was tough for me to get around him. So coming into the game, I really focused on that and learned some new techniques to get better hands on him, and it worked.

Q)Growing up in Michigan, how did you end up at Ohio State?

Gholston: My high school coach played at Michigan. But the biggest thing for me was I didn't grow up following college football. I didn't play 'til my sophomore year in high school. So when it came to get a scholarship to college, the biggest thing was finding the best fit for me, and I felt like Ohio State was that -- because of the coaching staff, they had three defensive linemen leaving that year, and the position they had for me, which was the `Leo' position, which allows you to rush the passer and drop.

Q)Can you talk about your workouts at Ohio State with Mike Vrabel?

Gholston: Yeah, not only Mike Vrabel. A lot of guys come back and work out and help us out. He comes back a lot of times in the summertime for conditioning for the season, and a lot of times he actually joins in the workouts, so I get a chance to compete with him and some of the other veterans. Sometimes I beat him and sometimes he beats me.

Q)Do you see yourself playing a similar role to Vrabel in the NFL?

Gholston: Yeah, I think I could. Obviously he made the Pro Bowl this year. That's one of my goals for the future. We come from similar backgrounds, Ohio State, similar positions.

Q)When James Laurinitis and Malcolm Jenkins decided to return for their senior seasons, did you think about going back also?

Gholston: When, their decisions actually came -- Jenkins made his right before me and Laurinitis actually just after me. Going back again, you know, I would love to. But I'm a four-year guy. That's a huge difference -- four-year, three-year guy. My career was great at Ohio State. I just felt like it was time.

Q)Why didn't you play football until your sophomore year of high school?

Gholston: Actually, I never really watched football. I played basketball and I was a big wrestling fan, loved working out, but football was one of the ones that kind of slipped through the cracks. I played a couple times when I was younger, but never really organized.

Q)What made you finally go out to football?

Gholston: Yeah, my high school coach saw me in the hall one day and convinced me to play.

Q)Do you need some work on playing in space?

Gholston: In high school, actually, I played linebacker. So when I got to Ohio State the biggest adjustment was becoming a defensive end, with my hand on the ground.

Q)What is your preference end or linebacker?

Gholston: I love playing defensive end. I love getting after the quarterback and affecting the game that way. But at the end of the day, whatever the team that picks me wants.

Q)Do you think the Giants defensive line domination in the Super Bowl helps your stock?

Gholston: I know how big the defensive line is. If you got a front four that can control the game, you're destined for championships. That was proven, the way they were able to take advantage of their speed and get to the quarterback.

It's illegal to reprint this interview on any message board or website. Violators are subject to legal action.


Jets Insider Top Stories