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Oh, Hello: Three-Star Defensive End Xavier Gilliam Commits to Penn State

The first defensive lineman is on the board in the 2024 Cycle for the Nittany Lions

James Franklin screaming with text “we are better” across the top.


Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 260 pounds
Hometown/High School: Columbia, MD (Wilde Lake High School)
Ranking: ★★★ (0.8578 247Sports Composite)
Notable Offers: Virginia Tech, Maryland, Texas A&M, Pitt, Duke, NC State



Penn State offered Xavier Gilliam in February of this year, when he already had 11 offers on hand. Starting in April, Xavier began with two unofficial visits to North Carolina schools - first NC State, and then Duke a week later. It seemed like he might have been heading down south until he took his official visit to Penn State this past weekend.

That official visit was all that Gilliam needed to see, as he pulled the trigger for Penn State then and there. He still has official visits scheduled over the remainder of June, but it seems like those will die down with his commitment.


Penn State has been busy addressing virtually every part of its roster except the defensive line. That’s not for lack of trying, mind you, but while the Lions have nabbed commitments from every other position, the DL has been devoid of recruits until now.

At 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, Xavier already possesses a good frame, but he will of course use a year or two of conditioning to reshape his body for the college level. For his size, Gilliam moves quickly, and is effective at washing down the line to make tackles. He’ll need to work on not letting the play get past him, but he does show a good bit of perseverance in tracking down the ball carrier downfield.

When he’s asked to, he can square up with larger offensive linemen and shuck the block well, resulting in disruptive play against the run. While he’s currently poised to play defensive end, time will tell how well he puts on weight. He may end up a tweener a la Kevin Givens or Anthony Zettel, and make a name for himself on the inside.

Lastly, Xavier is also a two-sport player, dabbling in shootyhoops as well - perhaps we could see him grace the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center some day in the future?