Elite '21 Class Defensive End Kelvin Gilliam Talks Spartan Offer

Hondo S. Carpenter

East Lansing, MI-- Throughout his recruitment, Highland Springs (VA) 4-star defensive end Kelvin Gilliam, one of the most sought after defensive line recruits in the 2021 class, has thought highly and fondly of Michigan State. The Spartans were the first program to extend him an offer back in November of 2018 and had his offer reaffirmed by Mel Tucker’s coaching staff on Sunday. 

Spartan Nation caught up with Gilliam to discuss his Michigan State offer being reaffirmed. He spoke of the mutual interest between himself, and he said that when the Spartans first offered him, he was excited and had a strong relationship with defensive line coach Ron Burton, who re-offered him as well.

“The first offer, it was my first Division 1 offer, so I was very excited to have that,” he said. “I went up there to visit because I had to, it was my first Division 1 offer, and I loved it. I have a great relationship with coach Burton, he went to my same high school. The second time around, I’ve always stayed in contact with coach Burton, and he told me, ‘We offered you, and now we have to re-offer you with coach Tucker,’ so that was good to hear.”

The 6-foot-3½, 255-pound standout currently holds 28 offers, including offers from Oklahoma, Michigan, Penn State, South Carolina, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and several others.

Gilliam also recently released a list of his Top 15 schools and included Michigan State in the list, but made clear that his recruitment remains open and continues to weigh all of his options and will continue to do so as new offers come in.

“The Michigan State staff, they were my first Division 1 offer, so that’s a very special place in my recruitment,” he said. “My recruitment is still 100% open; I’m still looking at schools and new schools that can continue to develop me as an athlete and a young man and as a young man.”

In his time being recruited by Burton, who also attended Highland Springs high school, Gilliam said that he had developed a good relationship with the Spartan defensive line coach and talks with him regularly.

“We have a close relationship with him going to my school and him knowing my uncles and aunts that went together,” he said. “It’s just a great relationship, we talk on the phone, we talk about football, and he checks in on how I’m doing, and making sure I’m straight, things like that.”

While Gilliam became very familiar with Michigan State under the previous coaching staff, he said that he’s looking forward to seeing what Mel Tucker and his new staff can do moving forward.

“Coach Tucker’s been at a lot of places, he was at Georgia, he was just at Colorado, so he’s been a lot of places.” Gilliam said, “He has a football mindset, and it’s very exciting to see what he can do and produce. He kept Coach Burton, and that really excites me, so I’m really, really excited to see what they produce this year.”

After visiting Michigan State last spring, Gilliam described the visit as “a great visit overall,” and told Spartan Nation that he would like to make a return visit to East Lansing at some point.

A highly coveted defensive end, who has shown the ability to be an elite defender against the run and has a knack for rushing the passer, Gilliam described himself as an athletic, versatile defensive lineman capable of playing defensive end or on the interior of the defensive line.

“A run stopper, someone that can rush the passer as well,” he said. “They can put me inside or outside, just a versatile defensive lineman that can get after it. I show a lot of athleticism and speed.”

For all of the latest news on Gilliam and the Spartans, be sure to stay tuned to Spartan Nation!

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