From Rebel to Raven

By: Brandon Bayer –

The Rebel community has its name in the papers for yet another athletic achievement.

This past Saturday Seton-La Salle alum Gino Gradkowski was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the 4th round of the NFL draft at pick number 98.
Gradkowski, who began his collegiate career at West Virginia, transferred to play 2 years at to the University of Delaware where he was a standout on one of the nations top offenses. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco also took a similar path. He began his career at the University of Pittsburgh and then quickly also transferred to Delaware and was eventually selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2008 draft. Joe is the first quarterback to lead his team to a playoff win in each of his first 4 seasons. This can only mean good things for Gino.

As most of us in the Seton-La Salle community already know, Gino’s older brother Bruce, another alumni, is currently in the American Football League as a quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft after playing college football at Toledo. Bruce Gradkowski has previously been a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, and Oakland Raiders.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is often recognized as the top talent evaluator and the best at drafting. He must have seen promise in Gino. Luckily, Gino has also fallen into a good position to play immediately for the Ravens. He most likely will play center down the road, but right now he has a shot at starting at left guard.
This offseason the Ravens lost their Pro Bowl left guard Ben Grubbs in free agency and haven’t been able to fill the hole since. Gradkowski should be fighting for the spot with 2nd year player Jah Reid who is converting from tackle to get a chance to start immediately at guard and make an impact and also with fellow rookie and small school player Kelechi Osemele. Osemele was the 60th overall pick and went to Iowa State University.
So hopefully when November 18th comes around and the Ravens are facing the Steelers for the first time here in Pittsburgh we all will be able to see Gino playing back at home again.
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