Returning to the field for the first time since October 2010 was enough of a motivator for Garry Gilliam as he rehabilitated a serious knee injury. But, motivation was joined by excitement and anticipation after Gilliam met Coach Bill O'Brien and started hearing about, and watching, the offense O'Brien would be bringing from the New England Patriots. The talented Gilliam tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the 2010 Iowa contest and was dedicated and persistent in his rehabilitation, despite an infection that delayed his surgery and prevented a return in 2011. Gilliam's enthusiasm and hard work was evident in winter conditioning and continued into spring drills, where he finished atop the depth chart at the "Y" tight end position. O'Brien describes the "Y" position as "a bigger guy, a good in-line blocker, who runs short to intermediate routes. His number one job is to block, and then his second job is to run short intermediate routes and be open. He's got to have good hands." The former Milton Hershey School standout has the size, skills and strength to be a significant target in an offense that will frequently employ multiple tight ends expected to catch, and possibly carry, the ball. Gilliam started three games in 2010 prior to his injury, making one catch for 21 yards. He compiled a 3.42 grade-point average during the spring semester, had a 3.12 cumulative GPA entering the summer and is a probable Academic All-Big Ten candidate. Gilliam is among 20 returning Nittany Lions from Central Pennsylvania.
2011 Junior Season
Gilliam missed the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at Iowa in 2010. Gilliam's surgery was delayed due to an infection in the knee and he was not able to return to the field in 2011.
2010 Sophomore Season
With veteran Andrew Szczerba sidelined with a back injury, Gilliam got onto the field in the opener with Youngstown State and earned three starts during the first month of the season. He made his first career catch, good for 21 yards, in the win over Temple. But, the following week, in the Big Ten-opener at Iowa, Gilliam tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, ending his season. He made starts against Youngstown State, Alabama and Temple and played on 217 snaps during the initial five games, topped by 59 in the win over Temple and 50 against Youngstown State.
2009 Freshman Season
Redshirt season. Gilliam played defensive end on the foreign team. He caught two passes for 23 yards in the 2010 Blue-White game.
A standout athlete, Gilliam played four sports at the Milton Hershey School. The All-American, all-state and All-Mid-Penn Conference honoree was a four-year starter, playing tight end and defensive end under Coach Bob Guyer. Gilliam gained 350 receiving yards on 20 receptions and scored four touchdowns in his career. During his senior season, he racked up 70 tackles, five sacks and two interceptions. He finished with 153 tackles, 12 sacks and five interceptions in his scholastic career. He played on the winning squad in the 2009 Big 15 game. Gilliam also was a member of the Pennsylvania squad in the 2009 Big 33 Classic. A WGAL-TV Player-of-the-Week, Gilliam was a conference champion in the javelin and qualified for the state track and field championships.
Full name is Garry Montzell Gilliam Jr. He is the son of Thelma Shifflett and Garry Gilliam Sr. He has one brother, Victor, and a sister, Angel. In his spare time, Gilliam enjoys graphic design work. He is a management information systems major and owned a grade-point average above a 3.0 entering the summer. Born November 26, 1990 in Harrisburg, Pa.