Gino Gradkowski has lived in the shadow of his older brother Bruce for years, and although he doesn’t mind it, Gino is ready to make a name for his self. Gino growing up always played in football in the back yard with his brother Bruce and when he brother was drafted by the Bucs in 2006, Gino couldn’t wait for his turn. Well Gino your time has come! This year the Delaware Blue Hen Center/Guard will be entering the 2012 NFL Draft. I have him rated as the best interior lineman coming out of small schools. Gino has been very good at Delaware, playing both Center and Guard over a few years. Gino transferred from West Virginia after coach Rich Rodriguez left and went to Michigan. Gino wanted to get on the field and make an impact,that is why he left. Although people might say that Gino is too small standing at 6'21/2 and weighing 300 pounds, they can't question his heart, it is as big as Tim Tebow's. Gino has been working out extremely hard this offseason preparing for the NFL Draft, and even though he was a snub for the NFL Scouting Combine, he is ready to prove that size doesn’t matter, and that his toughness will quiet the naysayers. I had the time to talk with Gino on an exclusive one on one interview, and you can get to know the Blue Hen a little better.
What was your most memorable moment coming out of Seton-LaSalle High School?
The most memorable moment coming out of Seton LaSalle was definitely winning at Heinz Field in 2004 vs Alliquippa for the WPIAL championship
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
I committed to WVU after my junior season. I had other scholarship offers from Pitt, USF, Toledo, Temple and some other Mac schools. Ohio state and Michigan showed interest but did not offer a scholarship
Why did you choose West Virginia over the other programs?
West Virginia seemed like the best place for me at the time. They were consistently the best team in the Big East and with it only being an hour from home it seemed perfect.
What was your most memorable moment at the University of Delaware?
The most memorable moment at the University of Delaware was our playoff run in 2010. It was so much fun playing in a playoff system again. Anytime you can play football all the way until January it's a great thing.
What position do you see yourself playing in the NFL?
Center but being able to play both guard positions as well will help me out tremendously.
What was your favorite NFL team growing up?
Growing up in Pittsburgh I always loved the Steelers.
Who in the NFL would say, your game is most like and why?
I always admired Jeff Saturday because we are similar in size. He is a very smart player and fun to watch
If you could meet one person dead or alive, who would it be and why?
John F Kennedy. As a history major I loved learning about American history and JFK was always my favorite person to talk about.
If it was your last meal on earth, what would it be?
Rigatonis and meatballs
How do you break down film, at both positions, Center and Guard?
As a center you always have to make the first call, So it is more complicated to break down defensive film as a center. I always break it down as a center first, looking at the different fronts they like to play and blitzes they like to run. At guard I look at the tendencies of the d tackle and how he likes to play different types of blocks.
Who was the toughest person you ever faced up against in college?
Brent Russell was only a sophomore when I faced him in 2010 but he was hands down the toughest player I have faced. His film is very impressive I like the way he plays. He's a downhill player and plays well with his hands
Where are you working out and who is your trainer?
I have been working out in Pittsburgh at Powertrain. Steve Saunders runs it and they have a lot of experience with NFL players
Have you been hearing where NFL teams have you projected in the draft?
I've heard 5th round to preferred free agent
When you talk with NFL teams, what do you tell them you will bring to their team?
As a college captain I have good leadership qualities. I am a hard worker and a good locker room guy. My ability to play all three interior line positions makes me a good asset for any team.
What will you buy with your first NFL paycheck?
I will do something special with my first pay check for my parents and older siblings because they have supported me throughout my whole life and they deserve something in return
Answer this question for me, in ten years from now, I will be _________________?
Playing in the NFL
I would like to thank Gino for a great interview, and I have heard from 3 NFL scouts that are bringing Gino in for workouts in April. Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, and the Indianapolis Colts all have pre draft visits lined up for Gino, and to be honest I am sure more will come for the younger brother of Quarterback Bruce who is still on the Cincinnati Bengals roster.