Josh Gaines was a surprisingly unheralded, multi-year starter on the restocked Larry Johnson defensive line. He was an integral part of the Big Ten Championship team of 2008, entering that year as a returning starter and third-string All-Big Ten—and helping, as most readers note, lead the squad to a Rose Bowl bid.
Gaines came to Happy Valley by way of Fort Wayne, Indiana, a 3-star strong side DE and the fifth-ranked player in his state in the class of 2004. He redshirted his freshman year, thus bypassing a less than stellar freshman campaign, and he saw time in every game his redshirt freshman season—another Big Ten winning year for the Nittany Lions.
It wasn’t until his redshirt junior year, 2007, that he started, and he came out with a bang—Penn State ended the year number two in sacks that season, and Gaines was honorable mention Big Ten. His senior year, of course, he was more overshadowed by an out-of-nowhere freshman by the name of Aaron Maybin, but Gaines still finished the year with 31 tackles (22 solo) and seven TFLs (4 sacks).
A few years ago, PennLive caught up with Gaines on the tenth anniversary of his signing day. The one-time Eagle UDFA was no longer involved with football, and reflects some on his time immediately after leaving the gridiron—and Arena ball.