HOUSTON – Staying home to represent his hometown team, Houston junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver continues to prove goals and dreams can be realized by attending the Tier One University of Houston. And that continued Tuesday as Sports Illustrated revealed its college football preview cover featuring Oliver.
The cover announcement comes one day after ESPN named the Houston native its No. 1 college football player entering 2018, joining Sports Illustrated which had bestowed the same honor in June.
Oliver is the second member of the #HTownTakeover to grace a Sports Illustrated cover in the last three years after former quarterback Greg Ward Jr., now a member of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, appeared on the cover prior to the start of the 2016 season.
Oliver is coming off a sophomore season that saw him become the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy while also earning consensus All-America honors.
Through just two seasons playing nose tackle on a three-man front, Oliver has 39.5 career tackles for loss, topping the 19 from Pitt’s Aaron Donald in the 2010-11 seasons.
Oliver closed out the National College Football Awards Association’s two weeks of preseason watch list announcements on July 27 with an appearance on a fifth major national award watch list as the Walter Camp Foundation released its list for the Walter Camp Award, presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding player.
It marked the second consecutive year for the Houston native to earn a spot on the award’s watch list. The 2017 American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Oliver is one of only two players on the watch list to earn Walter Camp First Team All-America honors in 2017, joining Stanford running back Bryce Love.
With the Walter Camp announcement, Oliver is on preseason watch lists for five national awards after also being named to the Maxwell Award, Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch lists.
It’s the second straight year the Houston native has appeared on preseason watch lists for all five awards.
The reigning Outland Trophy winner, Oliver will look to become only the second player in the Outland’s history to win the award twice after becoming the first underclassman to win the award in 2017. Nebraska center Dave Rimington is the award’s only two-time winner, claiming the award in 1981 and 1982.
The only returning player of the five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy in 2017, Oliver will look to become the first defensive tackle to win the award presented to the nation’s top defensive player since Aaron Donald of Pitt claimed top honors in 2013. Donald was also the last defensive tackle to win the Bednarik Award, presented annually to the nation’s college defensive player of the year.
Oliver will also look to become the first defensive player to win both the Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o accomplished the feat in 2012.
The Walter Camp Award watch list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists in November. The 2018 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, which is voted on by the 129 FBS head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced live on ESPN on Dec. 6.
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