DE Oliver returns to lineup for Houston

The Sports Xchange

November 03, 2018 at 12:16 pm.

Houston will receive a boost for Saturday night’s clash against SMU with the return of All-American defensive tackle Ed Oliver to the lineup.

Oliver sat out last week’s 57-36 win over South Florida due to a right knee injury he suffered against Navy on Oct. 20.

Because Oliver is expected to be among the top picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, there was some speculation that he would not play the remainder of the season for fear of injury, following the path of Ohio State star defensive lineman Nick Bosa.

However, Cougars head coach Major Applewhite doused such talk in a statement released on Friday, per the Houston Chronicle.

“Ed has been cleared to play and will do so today,” Applewhite said. “If he could have played last week, he would have. It’s a testament to his competitive nature, he can’t wait to be back on the field with his brothers and takes great pride in representing the City of Houston.”

Oliver had never missed a game in his three-year career before sitting out against South Florida. Houston enters Saturday’s matchup with a 7-1 overall mark and perfect 4-0 record in American Athletic Conference play. SMU is 3-5, 2-2.
Oliver was a consensus All-American last season, when he became the first underclassman to win the Outland Trophy.

In March, he announced that he will leave the Cougars following the 2018 season and make himself available for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com ranked Oliver as the No. 1 prospect in the 2019 draft in his latest Big Board ratings. Rang writes that Oliver “has arguably been the most consistent difference-maker in college football regardless of position” during his time at Houston.

In his first two seasons with the Cougars, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Oliver had 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.

This season, Oliver has 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.