Sophomore Adam Gotsis is not your typical college football player.
Almost all college football players are from North America, but Gotsis is one of the rare few who are from overseas. The six foot five inch defensive tackle is from the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. In the past few years, there have been a few other Australian players in American football. For example, Brad Wing played punter at LSU and Jesse Williams played at Alabama.
Gotsis did not actually get exposed to American football until he was 13, when he and his brother watched a replay of the 2006 Rose Bowl that featured Texas versus Southern California.
Gotsis grew up playing the usual Australian sports, such as rugby and Australian rules football, but he and his older brother Peter decided to give American football a try.
“I grew up playing Australian rules football and basketball and I wanted to change sports and try something new. I was just getting tired of playing the same sport. We were looking to play rugby league and we came across a football flyer. My brother and I decided to try it out and we went down there and fell in love with it,” Gotsis said.
Paul Johnson had some contacts in Australia and was given the advice by a player who played for him while Johnson was coaching at the University of Hawaii to take a look at Gotsis. Gotsis came on an official visit to Tech and was offered a scholarship.
“My brother and I decided to try it out and we went down there and fell in love with it.”
“I made the Australian national team and played in an international tournament. A few of the coaches back home knew coaches in America and were able to put me in contact with them. That got the ball rolling for recruiting and I went on from there,” Gotsis said.
To the surprise of many, Gotsis was not redshirted for his first season on The Flats. The coaches and players were extremely impressed with the way he was dominating offensive lineman in practice. He played in 12 games and even started against Duke. Gotsis had several things to adjust to moving to America, but his coaches and teammates eased the process.
“Living here was a huge adjustment because I didn’t have my family here. If you go out to eat, tipping is new. We don’t tip back home because it’s all included back home. All the people were new to me, but my roommates helped me adjust the most and on the field Izaan [Cross] and TJ [Barnes] really helped me adjust,” Gotsis said.
After the hiring of Coach Roof as defensive coordinator, the Jackets announced that they would be moving back to the 4-3 formation. This was no concern to Gotsis who better fits the 4-3 defensive tackle position and was very familiar with it, having played in it in the past.
“I played 4-3 back home so it was harder to adjust to the 3-4 formation as a freshman and it was kind of good to go back to the 4-3 and have a little more freedom, so it’s a bit more fun,” Gotsis said.
Ted Roof has coached several great defensive tackles including Nick Fairley from when Roof was defensive coordinator at Auburn. Gotsis is always looking at the technique of NFL defensive tackles.
“I like Suh just because he’s a mean man out there. He’ll fight to the end and that’s the mentality you have to have on the defensive line. You can’t go in there giving half effort and have to give 100% percent on the play,” Gotsis said.
This season, Gotsis won one of the starting defensive tackle positions. He starts along the line with fellow defensive tackle Euclid Cummings and defensive ends Jeremiah Attaochu and Emmanuel Dieke. Gotsis is the only non-senior starting on the line and has put up impressive stats.
Gotsis leads the team with nine tackles for loss and is second on the team with three sacks. Gotsis is also tied for fourth in the country for tackles for loss amongst defensive tackles.
This season, Gotsis is on pace to have the most tackles for loss by a Tech player in the Paul Johnson era. At his current rate, Gotsis will finish his career in the top five at Tech for tackles for loss and the top 15 in career sacks.
Gotsis credits his coaches and fellow teammates for putting him in situations to succeed and believes Coach Pelton and Coach Roof have had a tremendous impact on the defense.
Tech’s scoring defense is ranked number 20 in the country only allowing 19.9 points per game. That ranking is up from 65 from last season.
“The coaches are putting us in good situation to make plays. Having Jerry on one side, Dieke on the other and Euclid next to me, everyone has to be accounted for…I feel like it’s a whole unit just working together,” Gotsis said.
Gotsis has high expectations for himself and his team and is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish them.
“I definitely want to be All-ACC or All-American. I have team goals as well. I want to win an ACC Championship and beat Georgia,” Gotsis said.