Australia’s Adam Gotsis thriving in Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Jaguars got a razor thin victory last weekend as their kicker snuck in a clutch field goal giving them the 23-20 win front of thousands of international fans in London. Celebrating the NFL International series win was one of the trailblazing foreigners in the NFL in Jaguars Australian defensive linemen Adam Gotsis. For the pass rusher from down under, the road to NFL has been unlike any other.

The Melbourne, Australia native became the highest-drafted Australian-born player in NFL history when he was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2016 Draft.

Gotsis reflects on draft day 2016:

“It’s something that I’ll never forget. I’m glad I got to have a lot of friends stay with me and my family there with me and you know I think regardless what happened, whatever happened if I got drafted or not, you know, it’s those people that were around me, that were always proud of me, always supported me through everything and they’re still people that I have my life now.” (Via Sports Illustrated)

Photo: Eric Bakke

Prior to NFL glory, Gotsis competed in Australian Rules Football for eight years before becoming a league MVP in American Football for the Monash Warriors in Melbourne. At 6’4 290 pounds, the physically gifted Gotsis quickly landed himself a spot on the Australian national team. After competing on the international level at the 2011 IFAF World Championships. The former Aussie Rules player accepted a scholarship offer from Georgia Tech. Despite his success, Gotsis elaborates on the differences between playing the states and in Melbourne:

“The learning curve is huge. I feel like I’m still learning so much about the game.”

Photo: Georgia Tech Athletics

Gotsis immiatly became a star on the Yellow Jackets defensive line, earning significant playing time in his first year on campus. In 32 games the foreign exchange student put up 105 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 26 tackles for a loss, and two interceptions. The impressive stats, film, measurables had many NFL teams interested in picking up the Aussie.

Since being drafted, the former Monash Warrior has racked up 78 games played (45 starts), 147 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and 16 passes defended. In 2020, Gotsis opted for Jacksonville after four seasons with the Denver Broncos.

Photo: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Now in his sixth year in the pros the 29-year-old has played well in his second season with the Jaguars logging 43% of the team’s defensive snaps. Statistically, he’s notched two sacks and ten tackles in three starts and five appearances. Despite not playing in week one, Gotsis’s three tackles for a loss led the team. Even with his solid numbers, the veteran defender doesn’t take his role of helping rebuild the Jaguars lightly.

Gotsis commented on Jacksonville’s new culture back in May:

““Hearing the mentality of the staff, talking to Coach Cullen, talking to [defensive line] Coach Lupoi, Coach Meyer, all those guys, you know, you hear the mentality, the mindset, things like that. I know we have great players on the team…we’ve got a great coaching staff and we’ve changed things in the building that make things around us great,” (via Sports Illustrated)

Photo: Sports Illustrated

As one of a few Australians playing in the NFL, Gotsis recognizes the responsibility he has to guide young Aussie players on their football journeys.

Gotsis on what he emphasizes whenever speaking with younger athletes in his home country:

“I just try and mentor and advise, or just kind of give them any piece of advice just for life. I think more than anything, just showing that to me, I never even knew that I was gonna make it here and be drafted and do all these things. That’s something that you’re not even thinking about, you’re just thinking one step at a time. Like I got to get my foot in the door and get to college first before I even think about NFL. And that’s the reality of things since everyone wants to be a NFL player but, you know there’s steps to it. Part of that is doing the little tedious things along the way.” (via Sports Illustrated)

Gotsis’s road to the NFL is one that is certainly off the beaten path. The Aussie isplaying well this season and has plans of continuing his NFL career into his thirties. Expect the savvy vet to make some big plays as he continues to be a key part of the Jaguars rebuild in Jacksonville.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football