UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Football coach Bill O'Brien announced that senior tackle Garry Gilliam (Carlisle) has been granted a sixth year of eligibility after the NCAA approved a request for an extension of eligibility waiver.
Gilliam suffered a serious knee injury in the 2010 Big Ten opener at Iowa, the fifth game of the season, and missed the entire 2011 campaign. A tight end during the 2010 and 2012 seasons, Gilliam suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the game at Iowa and an infection then delayed his surgery and rehabilitation.
"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," stated Gilliam, who will be eligible to play during the 2013 and '14 seasons.
A four-sport athlete at the Milton Hershey School, Gilliam returned to the field for spring practice in 2012 and was a significant contributor during O'Brien's first season as head coach. Gilliam played in every game, with eight starts, at tight end and made seven receptions for 65 yards, with a long catch of 16 yards vs. Ohio State. He also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2012.
Following Penn State's 8-4 season, Gilliam moved to offensive tackle. Two offensive line starters from last season - tackle Mike Farrell and center Matt Stankiewitch - have graduated. The Nittany Lions return three tight ends from 2012 - Kyle Carter, Jesse James, Matt Lehman - who combined for 75 receptions, 1,025 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Gilliam helped the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense (437.0 ypg) in conference games and rank second in scoring offense (32.6 ppg) and second in pass offense (283.1 ypg) against Big Ten foes.
O'Brien was selected the 2012 Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN Coach of the Year and the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year. The Nittany Lions won eight of their final 10 games, beating eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin, 24-21, in overtime, on Senior Day to finish 6-2 in the Big Ten. O'Brien's eight wins were the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the 126 years of the program.
The Nittany Lions return 16 starters and 38 letterwinners for the 2013 season. Spring practice begins March 18 and the Blue-White Game is April 20 in Beaver Stadium.
Season tickets are available for the 2013 campaign. The Nittany Lions will host three teams that finished in the 2012 BCS Top 25: Michigan (Oct. 12-Homecoming), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State (Sept. 21). Purdue, Illinois, UCF and Eastern Michigan also will visit Beaver Stadium this fall. Penn State opens the season Aug. 31 vs. Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.GoPSUsports.com or call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.