With the 2018 season just five days away, we wanted to share five thoughts that should make football in Texas great this season. Today we take a look at the best player in College Football. You can call him Ed.
Ed Oliver is a unicorn. He's one of a kind. The mold was broken and scattered. You will not see his likeness again. Enjoy this season. Get to a game and watch him live.
His choice to, as the number two player in Texas and seventh ranked player in the country, to attend Houston shocked many. Alabama, LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and UCLA all made runs at Oliver. Nine months before he ultimately signed with Houston, the five-star committed to the Cougars.
Spring Westfield is just off I-45 right, south of 1960. It's basically a straight shot down 45, 23 miles, to the University of Houston. You'll semi-circle downtown and keep motoring south, into third ward.
For Ed Oliver this is home. Austin, College Station, Norman, and Tuscaloosa all have their appeal, but they aren't home. For Oliver the choice was simple. His brother was a Cougar, his mom was close. He simplified the recruiting process. Sure he took his unofficial visits, but he was bound for Houston.
Oliver despises distraction as much as he dislikes double teams. He dispenses with them. That's why in the spring he cut through the distraction and announced 2018, his junior year at Houston, would be his last. He's turning pro. As he told the Orlando Sentinel “I don’t want to be asked about it every three seconds, I want to focus on me and I want to focus on my guys and I want to focus on winning a championship this year.”
In an era when so many promising young athletes love the recruiting process and dwell on twitter followers and adoration, Ed Oliver loves football. He doesn't love attention or speculation, he loves football. Oh, and he loves his city.
Not that we can hype Oliver more than he already is, but he's truly special on the field. If you took Warren Sapp's athleticism from his days at the U, and Ndominic Suh's hand violence, Aaron Donald's first step and added a near unseen relentless drive, you could get something close to Oliver. Of course you'd have to find some comp for a defensive tackle who led his team in passes defensed, but even if you did, chances are that defensive line Frankenstein would sign with Alabama.
The ride started on a September Saturday at NRG Stadium when Oliver, a true freshman, bullied, beat, and scared an All-Big 12 center from Oklahoma. He wrangled Baker Mayfield, an eventual Heisman winner. He stoned two future NFL running backs in Joe Mixon and Semaji Perine. Oklahoma receivers, for the first time in their lives, had to account for a defensive tackle pursuing 30 yards downfield. The game was a coming out party and a rager at that.
The ride for Houston fans ends in a few months. Savor every down.
Ed Oliver is a different dude and we won't see him again anytime soon. So here's the disclaimer. Oliver will not win the Heisman and that's more than ok. College football's built an exclusive club where G5 players are left on the outside looking in. The last player to win the Heisman from a non-Power 5 school was Ty Detmer in 1990.
Let's hope we get a full season of a healthy Ed. If we do, we'll get to watch a truly transcendent player on full display. Distraction free.