In 44 days, the 2018 college football season will begin for the University of Houston Cougars, and thus will begin one of the potentially most decorated regular seasons for an individual player, not only in U of H history, but in the history of college football. But that's how it's been from the time Cougar defensive tackler Ed Oliver set foot on campus back in 2016, a season in which he was a first team All-American as a freshman.
Oliver begins his third and final season as a Cougar on September 1 at Rice Stadium against the Rice Owls. We know it will be his final season in college, because he has already gone the unconventional route of announcing BEFORE the season begins his intentions to head to the NFL. If the team picking first in the NFL Draft next April doesn't have an acute need at quarterback, there's a good chance Oliver will be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Hell, if J.J. Watt isn't fully healthy, and if you consider Jadeveon Clowney an outside linebacker, it's not a reach to say he is the best defensive lineman in THIS city, college or pro, right now.
So this is the time of year where the preseason accolades and the award watch lists begin rolling in, and to that end, it has been a busy few weeks for my friend David Bassity, U of H's Senior Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications & Digital Media. It's his job to email the media every time Oliver (or any UH player, for that matter) receives an honor or an award mention.
Keeping in mind that Oliver is already the reigning, defending, undisputed AAC Defensive Player of the Year Award and Outland Trophy winner, here are the watch lists and honors Oliver has already received for the upcoming season, with several more to come in the next few weeks:
Sports Illustrated’s No. 1 College Football Player for 2018
Maxwell Award Watch List (Best All-Around Player)
Bednarik Award Watch List (Best Defensive Player)
Athlon Sports Preseason All-American
Sporting News Preseason All-American
NFL.com’s No. 1 College Football Freak
The Athletic’s No. 2 College Football Freak
Dave Campbell Texas Football’s Defensive Lineman of the Year for Texas and All-Texas Team
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If you want some free Oliver samples to get ready for the full meal coming up in a little over a month, here are Oliver's highlights from 2017:
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