Penn State's Gilliam granted sixth year of eligibility

Penn State’s Garry Gilliam, an offensive tackle who was moved from tight end following the conclusion of the 2012 season, has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, coach Bill O’Brien has announced.

The NCAA approved Penn State’s request for an “extension of eligibility waiver” for Gilliam, who suffered a serious left knee injury against Iowa in the fifth game of the 2010 season and had to sit out all of 2011.

Gilliam, of Carlisle, Pa., tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee but then developed an infection that delayed his surgery and rehabilitation. He returned to the Nittany Lions last season and caught seven passes for 65 yards while being utilized mostly as a blocker at tight end. He played in all 12 games with seven starts.

The NCAA’s decision means the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Gilliam will be eligible for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

“I’m very excited to be able to continue to help Penn State and to be a part of such an important period in our history,” Gilliam, a 2012 Big Ten All-Academic team selection, said in a statement.

Gilliam’s move to tackle will shore up depth there after the graduation of starter Mike Farrell. The Nittany Lions return three tight ends – Kyle Carter, Jesse James and Matt Lehman – who combined for 75 receptions, 1,025 yards and 10 touchdowns last season – and also bring in redshirt freshman Brent Wilkerson and true freshman Adam Breneman.

--Joe Juliano