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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Football

Freshman appears on three first team All-American lists


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Defensive tackle Ed Oliver is the first freshman in UH football history named to a first team All-American list after he was selected to three different ones. | File photo/The Cougar

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Cougars have a first team All-American on their roster.

Three separate outlets on Wednesday and Thursday placed freshman defensive tackle Ed Oliver on their first team All-American list. The selection marks the first time in UH history that a freshman is chosen.

Sporting News announced its selections Wednesday, while USA Today and Sports Illustrated did so Thursday. Oliver was the sole freshman to appear on all three polls.

As the first five-star recruit to commit to a Group of Five university, Oliver made headlines even before hitting the college football playing field.

He was a starter before the Cougars’ opening game against the then-No. 3 University of Oklahoma Sooners and proved his skills with seven total tackles and two sacks.

Oliver finished the year with 43 solo tackles, which ranks him fourth in the country among all defensive linemen. He assisted on 18 tackles to finish the regular season with a total of 61, leading all freshmen defensive linemen nationally.

He added five sacks on the year, which led all freshmen American Athletic Conference players. Oliver also ranked second among all players in the conference in forced fumbles with three.

East Carolina University’s senior wide receiver Zay Jones was the other conference player named to any of the first-team lists. His name appeared in Sporting News’ list.

In addition to the first team All-American honors, Oliver was just one of two players to receive a unanimous selection to the conference’s all-conference team. He was also the conference’s Rookie of the Year and recipient of the 2016 Bill Willis Award, which is reserved to the nation’s top defensive lineman.

Oliver will line up opposite another Sports Illustrated-picked first-teamer, running back Donnel Pumphrey, when the Cougars face the San Diego State University Aztecs in the Las Vegas Bowl next Saturday.

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