Highland Springs defensive lineman Kelvin Gilliam announced his commitment to play football at Oklahoma on Saturday, becoming the second Springer this month to take his talents to Norman, Okla.
Gilliam, a second-team All-Metro pick in 2019, joins teammate Damond Harmon, a defensive back. Former Virginia Tech assistant Shane Beamer is an assistant at Oklahoma.
Gilliam said he’s been recruited by Oklahoma for the past two years. Before Harmon, the last local player to commit to OU was Atlee’s Ricky DeBerry.
“They’ve always been there, they’ve always given me that family vibe,” Gilliam said of the Sooners’ coaching staff.
“Coach Thib [defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux] sees something in me, he sees my potential, he sees what he can do for me. The other day he was talking to me, he said ‘I want you to come in and be an All-American for me. I want you to come in and change the standard of the defense for me.’”
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Gilliam was a first-team all-region selection last season after racking up 37 tackles, a team-high 17 tackles for losses and a team-high seven sacks. In 2019, Oklahoma ranked 64th nationally in scoring defense. The Sooners were 38th in yards.
The four-star defensive lineman is a member of the Class of 2021. He had about 40 offers, but narrowed his decision to Oklahoma, Penn State and South Carolina.
Gilliam made the announcement amid throng of friends and family at River City Roll in Scott’s Addition. Saturday was his mother’s birthday, and Sunday is his father’s. Gilliam’s dad, Kelvin Sr., said the weekend was “very, very special” for his family.
Kelvin Sr. added his appreciation for the Highland Springs program in guiding and molding his son since he was a freshman. He also thanked the 50-plus supporters for making the trip to show their appreciation for his son.
“It means a lot, that means we have a lot of support behind the Gilliam family,” he said.
“I just wish I could give everybody something to say thank you. Maybe Christmas time, I don’t know. I appreciate everybody for coming and giving their support.”