ATLANTA -- He only has been in the country for 3½ years, but Adam Gotsis has made a big impression in his short time at Georgia Tech.
The big import from Australia is expected to be the anchor of the team’s improved defense, and a productive season could put him in position to have his name announced at next year’s NFL draft.
“It’s been a quick journey, but it’s been a good one,” Gotsis said.
Gotsis (6-foot-5 and 282 pounds) was named first-team preseason All-ACC by Phil Steele, Athlon and Lindy’s. He’s on the watch lists for the Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Outland Trophy, the Lombardi Award and the Lott Impact Trophy. Doesn’t sound like he has missed on much.
“This season, personally I’ve got my own goals, which I don’t think I really need to share,” Gotsis said. “For me, it’s more about the team. My goal is the ACC championship. I’ve been close twice. We’ve lost by five and lost by two, so my goal is the ACC championship, and I think, for the whole defense, that’s what we want.”
If Gotsis continues to play to his high level, the Yellow Jackets will stand a better chance of accomplishing that goal. Since arriving at Georgia Tech with limited experience playing the American brand of football, Gotsis has worked hard, gotten stronger and shown steady improvement.
He played in all 12 games as a true freshman and made one start.
As a sophomore, he started all 13 games at nose tackle and finished with 38 tackles, including 23 solo tackles. He had 14.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He had five tackles and blocked two kicks against Mississippi in the Music City Bowl.
As a junior, Gotsis started all 14 games on the defensive line and was named second-team All-ACC by the coaches and the media. He had 36 tackles, including 23 solos, and finished with 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception, one blocked field goal (against Georgia) and one blocked extra point.
Gotsis is also on schedule to graduate in December, meaning he’ll finish in 3½ years. That will leave him time to focus on the NFL draft. He’s currently ranked by NFLdraft.com as the No. 9 defensive lineman eligible for the draft and is projected to be chosen in the second or third round.
But Gotsis stresses that he’s focused on helping the team, not his personal stock, with a great season.
“If you don’t have the team goal in mind, then I don’t think you’re in the right spot, and that’s the biggest thing we’re trying to stress is that the team is bigger than the individual,” he said. “It’s the whole Georgia Tech football team, coaching staff included, that puts you in that position, so it’s definitely no individual feat. It’s the whole team.”
Of note: Head coach Paul Johnson announced Monday that A-back Isiah Willis and linebacker Chase Alford had been awarded scholarships. The two juniors came to Georgia Tech as walk-ons. ... Johnson said this is the toughest week of the preseason workouts. Classes began Monday, and the season is still more than two weeks away, making it more difficult to stay focused. “You just have to stay in the moment,” Johnson said. “School starts, but the season is still three weeks away. At least next week you can see it coming. This is a hard week to push through.”