2021 Recruiting Profile: Florida Gators DE Target Kelvin Gilliam
Kelvin Gilliam, weak-side defensive end
School: Highland Springs (Va.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3.5, 255 pounds
247Sports Composite Rating: Four-star, No. 7 weak-side defensive end, No. 4 state (Va.), No. 106 national
Offers began to roll in for Gilliam during and shortly following his sophomore season, but things really began to take off in 2020 with six SEC teams sending offers his way between January and May. Florida offered Gilliam on April 22nd, and he went on to take a virtual visit on May 11th.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated - AllGators following the visit, Gilliam named Florida one of his six leading schools and made note that head coach Dan Mullen, defensive line coach David Turner, cornerbacks coach and area recruiter Torrian Gray, and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson have been active in his recruitment.
Turner believes Gilliam has the skill-set to play defensive end, defensive tackle, and even nose tackle in UF's scheme, according to Gilliam. Over the Zoom call, the staff compared Gilliam's game to that of current Florida defensive end Zachary Carter, the 2021 prospect said.
Gilliam went on to release a top ten schools list on June 30th, with Florida joining Penn State, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia Tech, LSU, California, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and South Carolina in the mix.
Where He Fits
Turner's idea of Gilliam moving across the defensive line makes a lot of sense given his already impressive build for a rising high school senior. While he's a bit stout at 6-3.5, 255, he carries great length that allows him to swipe away at offensive linemen's arms with ease. There's plenty of room for Gilliam to add to his pass-rush move arsenal as well, provided that length and his twitchy athleticism.
He also can effectively dip and rip through blocks off of the edge, planting a strong outside foot and angling towards the quarterback with solid and improving pad level. Gilliam is disciplined within his gap and plays with an explosive first step.
Playing not only defensive end for Highland Springs, Gilliam also spends time on the offensive line which can benefit him as a rusher, getting a better understanding of how offensive linemen set up blocks in order to be a step ahead when setting the edge.
Gilliam told AllGators that he looks to improve on reaction speed entering his senior season, should there be a season amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
At Florida, Gilliam is best fit to flex between both defensive end spots, perhaps a tweener between the two positions at his size but carrying the traits to play both. The upside to move inside on pass downs is certainly there as well, but that could require further added weight.