The 2018 NFL draft won’t even play out for another seven weeks or so, but we already have the first official early entry into next year’s draft.
It’s long been expected that Ed Oliver, one of the top defensive players in the country each of his first two seasons at Houston, would be three-and-done with the Cougars. Monday night, Oliver and the football program made that official, with both confirming that the standout rising junior defensive tackle will leave UH at the end of the upcoming season to make himself available for the 2019 NFL draft.
The official announcement is smart on the part of both as it allows each to avoid what would certainly be a barrage of “will you/he or won’t you/he?” questions throughout the season, even as most involved have fully expected this outcome since as early as Oliver’s true freshman season in 2016 — or even before.
“This was a dream of mine coming in,” Oliver said in quotes distributed by the school. “I knew I was going on a business trip, and whether my business trip was three years or four years it just depended on how early I got on the field and how effective I was.”
After a consensus Freshman All-American season that saw him land on numerous first-team All-American squads, Oliver was a consensus All-American in a 2017 season that saw him become the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy in the 70-year history of the award.
In two seasons, the 6-3, 290-pound Oliver has totaled 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He should be a contender for the 2018 Heisman Trophy; whether he will or not remains to be seen.