Gotsis hopes to impress NFL teams in interviews

Gotsis, who doesn’t expect to be healed until August, hopes that he can impress some teams during the interview process. He will not participate in any of the on-field activities. He plans to perform on the bench-press for NFL teams at Georgia Tech’s Pro Day on March 18.

Gotsis, who graduated in three years, is 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds. He’s from Abbotsford, Australia, and hasn’t played football long. Teams certainly will be interested in Gotsis’ football journey.

“To be honest, even like five years ago I probably wouldn’t have thought that I’d be playing college football,” Gotsis said Friday. “Let along being at the combine. It shows what hard work and dedication can do. I did that, and it’s paying off.”

He was injured on the first play from scrimmage against Virginia on Oct. 31. He finished the season with 31 tackles, five tackles for loss. He finished his career with 37 consecutive starts.

It was bizarre how he ended up at Tech.

“I saw a flyer to play American football,” Gotsis said. “That was in Australia, and it was local rec league. I ended up going down there, and I played a little. Then one of my coaches there played for my head coach in college (Paul Johnson) back in the ’80s at like in Hawaii. He was actually looking for a kicker. My coach was like, ‘I have this kid that’s 6-foot-5 and he’s a pretty athletic guy.’ ”

He played Australian Rules Football for eight years. He went on to play American football for the Monash Warriors and had 12.5 sacks in 2010.

He believes he can make the jump to the NFL.

“I think I have a lot of upside,” Gotsis said. “That’s a big thing for me. I’ve only played four years of really high level football. I came in as a true freshman and ended up playing 12 games.”

Gotsis is rated as the 19th-best defensive tackle in the draft by CBSSports.com. He projects to be selected in the sixth round.

He’s doing his rehab work at Tech and hopes to be recovered by training camp.

“In my head, I think that I’ll be 100 percent by August,” Gotsis said. “That’s in my head. As an ACL goes, there are different phases for that injury. You just have to handle each phase and take it day by day.”

Gotsis has drawn inspiration from running backs Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson, who returned from ACL injuries.

“These guys have come back in nine or 10 months,” Gotsis said. “It just shows that modern-day medicine is insane. It doesn’t matter what injury or anything you have, they can fix it and you can come back bigger and better.”

The rehabilitation process has been taxing.

“You have to go there with the right mindset every day,” Gotsis said. “It’s all about positivity. If you go in there with negativity in mind, you’re going to struggle.

“You’re going to have days where it drags. You have to fight and get through it. Once that clock hits midnight it’s a new day. Everything resets. and you have to do it again. It’s both. If you are mentally strong and willing to push yourself to a different level, then you can be all right.”

Gotsis believes he can help an NFL team.

“I definitely think my ability to get in the backfield, making negative plays is a plus,” Gotsis said. “Just being able to play anywhere across the front if they need me, whether if it’s a five-technique or three-technique. … I think I fit any system. I’m very versatile. I have a high motor. I bring a lot to the table.”

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