The 6-foot-4, 268-pound Gayle posted a career-high 43 tackles in 2012 but saw his sack numbers drop from a team-leading seven in 2011 to five, leading some to characterize his redshirt junior season as a disappointment. ACC coaches didn't agree, recognizing the talented defender as a second-team all-conference pick for the second consecutive year. Gayle is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 defensive end in the 2014 draft class. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
01/10/2013 - Two down, one to go. Hokies defensive end James Gayle tweeted Thursday afternoon that he plans to return for his senior season at Virginia Tech, one day after cornerback Antone Exum announced the same. "After much thought I have decided to postpone my NFL ambitions to complete my degree and work towards another championship," Gayle tweeted. That leaves quarterback Logan Thomas as the only underclassmen the Hokies are waiting on for official word about whether he goes pro or not.
Gayle, a 6-foot-4, 269-pound defensive end from Hampton, was a second-team All-ACC pick for a second straight season after finishing with 43 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and five sacks. Those numbers are down slightly from the 12.5 tackles for a loss and seven sacks he had in 2011 and less than the double-digit sack total he set out as his goal. He did have a team-high 27 quarterback hurries, though.
Gayle, who might have had a tough time being selected high in a draft flush with top-end pass rushers, said last month that he still wanted to get first-team All-ACC honors before he finished college. "I want to gain more accolades," he said prior to the Russell Athletic Bowl. - Andy Bitter, The Virginian-Pilot
12/28/2012 - Scouting the Virginia Tech run defense: The Hokies have yielded an average of only 82.7 rushing yards in the last six games since allowing 339 rushing yards to North Carolina on Oct. 6. Tech re-shuffled its defensive line after its eye-opening failure against the Tar Heels, and it also made a change at outside linebacker. Senior LB Alonzo Tweedy has taken on a larger role the last three games and has come through with 15 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. - The Sports Xchange
12/12/2012 - 2012 COACHES ALL-ACC FOOTBALL SECOND TEAM: DE-James Gayle, Virginia Tech, 6-4, 250, Jr.-R, Hampton, Va. (10), has been selected Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. This year, for the first time under the auspices of the ACC, the league's 12 head football coaches voted for an All-ACC football team. Gayle, from Hampton, Va., has started 11 games, recording 40 tackles, including 10.0 for loss and 5.0 sacks, to go along with 27 quarterback hurries. - Virginia Tech football
12/02/2012 - 2012 ALL-ACC SECOND TEAM (MEDIA): DE-James Gayle, Virginia Tech (30)...has been named Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2012 college football season by the ACC Media Association. Gayle, from Hampton, Va., has started 11 games, recording 40 tackles, including 10.0 for loss and 5.0 sacks, to go along with 27 quarterback hurries. - Virginia Tech football
10/15/2012 - WEEK 7 ACC DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: James Gayle, Virginia Tech, R-Junior, DE, 6-4, 269, Hampton, Va.,...Gayle was all over the field in helping shut down the Duke offense after a big first quarter en route to a 41-20 Hokie win. The senior tallied a team-high nine tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a sack to go along with three quarterback hurries as the Hokies held the Blue Devils to just 22 yards rushing for the game. - ACC football
09/06/2012 - SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Virginia Tech's defense wants to be dominant this season, and it got off to a great start against Georgia Tech's potent spread option attack. The Hokies held the Yellow Jackets to 288 total yards and 192 yards rushing, well below their 2011 season averages of 458.8 and 316.5. Virginia Tech allowed only one touchdown in the first 59:14, and that came after a special teams snafu gave Georgia Tech the ball at the Hokies' 24-yard-line. - The Sports Xchange
09/03/2012 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior defensive end James Gayle had a breakout season at his defensive end position, earning All-ACC honors. He had 38 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks, along with 20 quarterback hurries last year. A physical monster, the 260-pound Hampton, Va., product posted a position record 39.5-inch vertical and a 4.44 40-time this past offseason. Gayle didn't seriously take up the sport of football until his sophomore year at Bethel High in Hampton. And he didn't play that season because of a hamstring injury. But his late start hasn't hurt because of the good genes passed down to him. Gayle's dad, Jimmy, played running back at Ohio State from 1979-82, and was named the 1981 Liberty Bowl most outstanding player. His uncle, Shaun Gayle, played 12 seasons in the NFL (1984-95) and was a member of the Chicago Bears squad that won Super Bowl XX in 1985. He also owns the distinction of returning the shortest punt for a touchdown in NFL history, when he returned a punt 5 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants in a 1985 divisional playoff victory. - Virginia Tech football
08/01/2012 - 2012 PRESEASON TED HENDRICKS AWARD WATCH LIST: JAMES GAYLE, VIRGINIA TECH, has been selected a preseason candidate for the 2012 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. On-field performance, exceptional winning attitude, leadership abilities, contributions to school and community and academic preparedness are some of the criteria used to determine the Award's winner. - Ted Hendricks Foundation
07/27/2012 - 2012 PRESEASON ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE PRESEASON TEAM (MEDIA): DE James Gayle, Virginia Tech (31), has been selected Preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference football for the 2012 college football season by the ACC media. A second-team All-ACC selection at defensive end in 2011, Gayle started all 13 games he played in. He had 38 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks, along with 20 quarterback hurries on the season. TOP FOUR VOTING BY POSITION (OVERALL, NAME, TEAM, VOTES): Defensive End: 1. Brandon Jenkins, FSU, 59...2. James Gayle, VT, 31, 3. Malliciah Goodman, CL, 20...4. Bjoern Werner, FSU, 12 - Virginia Tech football
07/24/2012 - Virginia Tech defensive end James Gayle put on some weight this summer - 17 pounds to be exact. But he admitted with a sheepish smile last weekend at the Hokies' recruiting camp that at one point, he almost went too far. "For a second there, I was a little chunky," said Gayle, who now weighs 267 pounds. "Just lifting and eating, it was like every other summer. Every summer I work hard, but this year I got swipes to the buffet. I've been grubbing." The extra weight has turned Gayle into an even scarier specimen and should prove beneficial considering he already had prodigious athletic ability. This spring Gayle recorded a 39.5-inch vertical jump and ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash during Virginia Tech's testing period. He also finished last season tied for sixth in the ACC with seven sacks despite missing time because of an injured ankle and earned second-team all-ACC honors. That, though, has just left him wanting more. "I feel like the injury last year really messed up my season. I still finished all right, but I feel like I can do better than that," Gayle said. "I feel like I'm still growing into the position. I'm nowhere where I want to be in terms of being a pass rusher, even knowing what's gonna come with the offense." - Mark Giannotto, The Washington Post
07/19/2012 - 2012 ROTARY LOMBARDI AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST: James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech, has been selected to the Preseason Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List for the 2012 college football season, presented the nation's top college lineman or linebacker each year by The Rotary Club of Houston. - The Rotary Club of Houston
07/10/2012 - 2012 BEDNARIK AWARD PRESEASON WATCHLIST: James Gayle, Virginia Tech, DE, Jr., has been selected to the preseason Bednarik Award watchlist for the 2012 college football season. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the nation's top defensive player since 1995. A former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chuck Bednarik is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of 1969 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of 1967. - The Maxwell Football Club
06/22/2012 - Top-five Virginia Tech prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft: 2. DE James Gayle (6-4, 260)...Dubbed the next great Hokies' pass rusher by the Virginia Tech coaching staff, Gayle had a breakout sophomore season in 2011 with a team-best 7.0 sacks. Teaming with J.R. Collins at the other defensive end spot, the defensive end duo is among the best in the ACC and possibly the nation. Gayle wasn't highly recruited out of Hampton, Virginia, but really impressed the Hokies' coaches with his work ethic and natural ability. After redshirting in 2009, he spent the 2010 season as a back-up defensive end, registering 13 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. Gayle had his best season last year as a sophomore with 7.0 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and 38 total tackles, earning Second Team All-ACC honors. He lacks imposing size, but is strongly-built throughout his frame with the natural burst and quickness to explode off the edge with flexibility and raw power. Gayle needs to continue and develop his pass rush moves to win one-on-one battles when he doesn't gain a step off the snap and become more creative to keep blockers guessing. In a crowded defensive end class next April, Gayle could emerge as one of the top pass rushers in the draft. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com