Adams, Gholston Named Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch
July 26, 2012
CHICAGO - Michigan State fifth-year senior cornerback Johnny Adams and junior defensive end William Gholston have been named to the second-annual Big Ten preseason Players to Watch list, as selected by a media panel attending the conference's football media days. The preseason watch list features a total of 10 student-athletes, with five players each selected from the Legends and Leaders Divisions.
Adams and Gholston are among the five student-athletes who represent the Legends Division on the Big Ten preseason Players to Watch list, joining Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and quarterback Denard Robinson as well as Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead. Representing the Leaders Division on the preseason Players to Watch list are Ohio State defensive lineman John Simon and quarterback Braxton Miller, Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short as well as Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and linebacker Chris Borland.
An All-Big Ten first-team selection by the coaches and second-team pick by the media in 2011, Adams enters his third year as a starting cornerback. He started 13 games at boundary corner last season and finished eighth on the team with a career-high 51 tackles. Adams recorded a career-best 4.0 tackles for losses (35 yards), including 3.0 sacks (32 yards). He led the team and tied for ninth in the Big Ten with nine passes defended (three interceptions, six pass break-ups). Adams also tied for seventh in the Big Ten with three interceptions, and his 141 interception return yards were third most in a MSU single season and ranked seventh in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
In the 2011 home finale against Indiana, he tallied three tackles, including a 14-yard sack, and a pass break-up to go along with an 86-yard interception return for a touchdown, the fourth-longest interception return in MSU history. Adams had four tackles and returned an interception 30 yards in the first quarter at Iowa, setting up MSU's second touchdown in a 37-21 victory over the Hawkeyes. He made five stops at No. 13 Nebraska and recorded his first interception of the season, returning it 25 yards to set up a Spartan field goal in the second quarter. Adams matched his career high with seven tackles and was credited with a quarterback hurry in the win over fourth-ranked Wisconsin. He registered four tackles, two pass break-ups and two quarterback hurries in MSU's fourth-straight win over Michigan. His 10-yard sack of Robinson on a fourth-and-1 play from the Spartan 9-yard line late in the fourth quarter helped seal the victory over the Wolverines. He collected four tackles, including an 8-yard sack, in a 10-7 victory at Ohio State. Adams tied his career highs with seven tackles and two pass break-ups in 2011 season opener against Youngstown State, as he compiled a season-best 24 production points.
The 5-foot-11, 177-pound Adams is featured on 2012 preseason watch lists for the Bednarik (defensive player of the year) and Thorpe Awards (nation's best defensive back) as well as the Nagurski Trophy (nation's best defensive player). He has been named to several preseason All-America Teams, including Phil Steele's College Football Preview (second team), Lindy's (second team) and CollegeFootballNews.com (third team).
The three-year letterman from Akron, Ohio, has played in 42 career games, including 28 starts. A two-time All-Big Ten selection (2010 - coaches second team; 2011 - coaches first team and media second team), Adams has 122 career tackles and 25 passes defended (eight interceptions, 17 PBUs). He already ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in interception return yards (fourth with 219) and interceptions (tied for 20th with eight).
An All-Big Ten second-team selection by the coaches and media in 2011, Gholston led the Spartan defensive linemen with 70 tackles and finished third on the team in production points (261). He ranked among the Big Ten leaders in tackles for loss (seventh with 16 for 50 yards) and sacks (11th with 5.0 for 30 yards). His 16 tackles for loss are the seventh-highest single-season total in MSU history.
Gholston tied a Spartan-bowl record with 5.0 tackles for loss (16 yards), including a career-best 2.0 sacks (10 yards), in MSU's 33-30 triple-overtime win over No. 18 Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl. His 5.0 TFLs tied for the third-highest single-game total in Spartan history. He finished with a team-best seven tackles and recovered a fumble against Georgia. Gholston finished eighth in the Big Ten with 40 "impact" tackles (stops that limit opponents to gains of 2 yards or less, including sacks) during the regular season. He compiled 29 tackles in a two-game span (career-high 15 vs. Nebraska and 14 vs. Minnesota), the most in a two-game stretch by a Spartan since Greg Jones in 2009. It also marked the first time since 2000 (Josh Shaw) that a Spartan defensive lineman recorded double-figure tackles in back-to-back games. Gholston tallied five tackles, including 3.0 for losses (12 yards) with an 8-yard sack, two QB hurries and a pass break-up and in MSU's 10-7 win at Ohio State, as he totaled a career-high 34 production points against the Buckeyes. In his first career start at defensive end, he recorded six tackles, including 2.0 for losses (4 yards), in the 2011 season opener against Youngstown State.
The 6-7, 278-pound Gholston is featured on 2012 preseason watch lists for the Bednarik (defensive player of the year) and Lombardi (college lineman of the year) Awards and the Nagurski Trophy (nation's best defensive player). The two-year letterman from Detroit, Mich., has 83 tackles, including 17.0 for losses, in 23 career games.
The complete list of 2012 Big Ten football preseason Players to Watch appears below:
at the official