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‘Thankful’ K-State’s Gillum relishes final days in Manhattan while awaiting NFL call

‘Thankful’ K-State’s Gillum relishes final days in Manhattan while awaiting NFL call

MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Six years in Manhattan, Kansas turned Hayden Gillum from a walk-on to a team captain. More specifically, a team captain who started at center in each of the Wildcats’ 27 games in his final two seasons with the program.

Gillum, a Plainville, Kansas native, is hoping the next chapter of his book consists of three letters: NFL.

“It would be great,” Gillum told 27 News when asked what emotions be like if his name gets called in the 2024 NFL Draft. “It’s something you always look forward to. I think it would bring a lot of emotions because there’s been so much that went into it. It would be a blessing for sure.”

For the long-time ‘Cat, leaving the program after snapping the ball thousands of times in a Wildcat uniform comes with a bittersweet feeling.

“It’s like a whole combination of emotions,” he said. “You go through the whole journey and such an amazing time here at K-State, now I’m embarking on a new journey with all new teammates, new coaches. We’re going to be moving to a new city so there’s a lot that goes with that but it’s exciting for sure.”

Gillum was All-Big 12 honorable mention in both 2022 and 2023. He’s one of four K-State offensive lineman getting serious looks from professional teams ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft, a group headlined by All-American Cooper Beebe.

“It’s nice, it gives you a little bit of normalcy” Gillum said. “We’ve all been training all over the country from January through March. Then, these last few weeks to come to back to kind of where home is and have each other, to push each other, just get back to work and doing football. [It’s] kind of what we know. We’ve been together for so long and done so much together. It actually brings a little bit of peace being back with those guys and working out.”

The NFL draft takes place April 25-27.

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