Nate Gilliam is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and played his prep ball for Farragut High School where he was a member of the 6A First-Team All-State squad, a team captain as a senior, and the District 4AAA Lineman of the Year. He wound-up committing to Wake Forest as a three-star prospect.
After redshirting his first year on campus, Gilliam became a contributor on special teams and earned the first start of his career against Louisville in 2016. In 2017, he saw his career starts triple as he got the nod for the Appalachian State and Georgia Tech games in his sophomore season.
Gilliam then went on to to start every game through his final two years at Wake. As a junior, he started all 13 games with one coming at right guard in the opener and the final 12 at right tackle after starter Justin Herron went down to a season-ending injury. As a senior, Gilliam started all 12 games at right guard en route to earning Third-Team All-ACC honors.
When I threw on Gilliam’s film, I was pleasantly surprised to see a stout blocker who has a little bit of a mean streak to him. Wake Forest ran a lot of zone read concepts and Gilliam was often used as a lead blocker pulling up through running lanes to open things up. He did this consistently in their game against Louisville this past season.
As a pass protector, Gilliam is able to get the job done with his strong base and wide stature. He isn’t an elite athlete but he is in control of his body and this allows him to stay on top of stunts and twists by the defensive line. He had a couple pancakes in that same Louisville game and that is an easy way to my heart.
The guard position looks a bit cramped right now with Dan Feeney, Forrest Lamp, Scott Quessenberry, and potentially Trent Scott if the staff decides to try him there. As of right now, Gilliam looks like the best UDFA offensive linemen in the group and the Chargers have found luck with undrafted linemen in the past. Maybe this is another one of those times? He’s certainly worth the stash on the practice squad. That’s likely what we can expect from Gilliam in his rookie season with the Bolts.