WFor the third consecutive year, Josh Gaines will enter the season as the Nittany Lions' most experienced defensive lineman. Behind Gaines and the emergence of several talented, but youthful players, the D-Line made significant progress in 2007 and emerged as one of the nation's top units. Seeing action in every game, with 12 starts, Gaines played an important role in helping the Nittany Lions rank No. 2 in the nation in sacks and No. 7 in rushing defense last year. Gaines' role in mentoring the younger members of the unit has been recognized and appreciated by his teammates and coaches. In the spring, the fifth-year senior was elected a defensive co-captain for the 2008 campaign. A probable All-Big Ten candidate, he was selected honorable-mention all-conference last year. A two-year starter, the tenacious and talented Gaines has provided consistently strong play and good leadership, traits that again will be counted on. The former Northrop HS all-state selection is a productive force, with the size, speed and instincts to make plays. Gaines is a noted hard worker who is coming off a strong winter conditioning and spring practice session. Coming from a family of 11 children, Gaines is on schedule to graduate in December.
2007 Senior Season
Playing in every game, with 12 starts, Gaines played an important role in helping the Nittany Lions rank No. 2 in the nation in sacks and No. 7 in rushing defense. He was selected honorable-mention All-Big Ten. Gaines had 40 tackles to his credit, with 5.0 TFL, including 2.5 sacks for minus-16 yards. He also had one forced fumble and one pass breakup. Gaines made four tackles, including a sack, at Michigan, helping hold the hosts to 14 points. Playing in front of more than 70 family members and friends at Indiana, he made a then-career best seven stops, with a sack, in the important road win. The following week, Gaines broke his career-high again, recording eight tackles, with 1.5 TFL, against Ohio State. He also forced a fumble in the 38-7 win over No. 19 Wisconsin. Gaines made four tackles, with 0.5 TFL, in the win over Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl, helping hold the Aggies to three points over the final 49 minutes. Gaines was on the field for 696 snaps, topped by 72 at Indiana and 71 against Ohio State.
2006 Junior Season
Gaines played in all 13 games, starting nine contests at right defensive end. An ankle injury to Jim Shaw provided Gaines with an opportunity to move into the starting lineup at Ohio State and he never looked back. Gaines recorded 25 tackles (11 solo), with two sacks and two pass breakups. He also recovered and returned two fumbles for 28 yards, narrowly missing out on his first collegiate score against Illinois. He became a strong contributor in helping the Penn State defense finish 2006 ranked in the top 15 nationally in rushing (87.5 ypg, seventh), scoring (14.4 ppg, ninth), total defense (284.5 ypg, 15th) and pass efficiency defense (105.9 rating, 14th) and sacks (40, sixth tie). Gaines had one of his top career games against the Illini, recording three tackles, with a sack, and returning a fumble 10 yards to the Illinois 11, with the Lions holding a 17-12 fourth-quarter lead. The following week, he picked up a fumble on the final play of the Purdue game, rumbling 18 yards to the Boilermakers' 23 before being stopped. Gaines made a career-high four tackles each against Akron, Minnesota and Wisconsin, combining with Jay Alford on sacks against the Zips and Gophers. He was on the field for 589 snaps, topped by 69 against Illinois and 67 at Minnesota.
2005 Sophomore Season
Gaines was the top reserve to All-America defensive end Tamba Hali and senior Matthew Rice. Gaines played in every game, recording nine tackles (five solo), including 0.5 tackles for loss (USF), and one pass breakup. He made three tackles each against South Florida and Illinois and two solo stops against Cincinnati. Gaines was on the field for 208 snaps, with a season-high 38 plays in the win at Illinois. He was selected Academic All-Big Ten.
2004 Freshman Season
Redshirt season. Gaines made two solo tackles and returned a fumble in the 2005 Blue-White game.
A three-sport standout at Northrop HS, Gaines was selected the 2004 Athlete of Fort Wayne. A four-year starter for Coach Matt Stinson, he was a 2003 first-team all-state selection, the Midwest Sports Class 5A Defensive Player-of-the-Year and a two-time all-conference honoree. The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel named him all-area and The Bloomington Herald-Times named him a Top 30 pick in the state. As a senior, he made 51 tackles (29 solo), with 10 sacks and a forced fumble. As a tight end, he made 15 receptions for 234 yards. In 2004, he played in both the Indiana-Ohio and North-South all-star games. Gaines also excelled on the basketball court, where he earned all-state, all-area and all-conference honors. A four-year starter, he became Northrop's all-time leading scorer with 1,264 points and was named team co-captain as a senior. He also participated in track and field, earning all-area and all-conference honors in the shot put.
Full name is Joshua Lamar Gaines. He is one of James and Wilma Holder's 11 children. Gaines has four brothers and six sisters. He is majoring in human development and family studies. Born September 27, 1985 in Fort Wayne, Ind