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Former Xaverian star Gaziano signs with LA Chargers

Pictured during his time at Xaverian in 2014, former Hawk and Northwestern defensive end Joe Gaziano (97) will take his talents to Los Angeles after signing with the Chargers this past week. Photo by Sgt. Bryan G. Lett.

Former Xaverian standout defensive end Joe Gaziano ('15) has signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Chargers as un-drafted free agent.

Gaziano, a native of Scituate, absolutely dominated during his time at Xaverian. As a senior in 2014, he recorded 53 tackles, including 21 for loss, and 16 sacks, while helping the Hawks to a 12-0 record and the Division I Super Bowl title (38-29 win vs. Everett). Gaziano was twice named Catholic Conference MVP. Following his senior year, he was named 2014 Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year, Boston Globe Division One Player of the Year, 2014 ESPN Boston Mr. Football.

Along with football, Gaziano also excelled on the lacrosse field, helping the Hawks to the 2013 Division I state championship as a sophomore close defenseman before captaining the team as a senior.

Following his days as a Hawk, Gaziano took his football talents to Northwestern, where he started three full seasons at defensive end for the Wildcats and became the school's all-time sack leader.

As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Gaziano appeared in all 13 of Northwestern's games, recording 4.5 sacks and helping the Wildcats to a 7-6 record which included a 31-24 victory over Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl.

In 2017 as a redshirt sophomore, Gaziano was named All-Big 10 second team after leading the conference in sacks (eight). Northwestern finished the season at 10-3 (the fifth 10-win season in program history), which included a 24-23 victory against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl, where Gaziano recorded a sack, six tackles, a forced fumble and two pass breakups. Northwestern finished the season at No. 17 in the AP Poll.

Gaziano again earned All-Big 10 second-team honors his junior season in 2018 after leading the team in tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (7.5). Northwestern won the Big 10 West Division title with an 8-4 record and played in the program's first-ever Big 10 Championship Game (45-24 loss to No. 3 Ohio State). The Wildcats defeated No. 17 Utah, 31-20, in the Holiday Bowl to finish the season 9-5 and at No. 21 in the AP Poll. Gaziano's third quarter strip sack in the Holiday Bowl was returned for a touchdown and served as the game's turning point.

As a senior, Gaziano led Northwestern in sacks for the third consecutive season with nine, and became the school's all-time career sacks leader with 30.

After surprisingly going un-drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft this past week, Gaziano inked a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Chargers. Gaziano will compete alongside some of the league's top pass-rushers, including two-time Pro Bowler Joey Bosa and three-time Pro Bowler Melvin Ingram, for a roster spot.

Gaziano becomes just the fifth Xaverian alum to sign with an NFL team, joining the likes of Matt Hasselbeck, Tim Hasselbeck, Greg Comella and Maurice Hurst.

For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as game highlights, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.

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