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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Football

Across programs, Class of 2020 making a name for itself


Oliver

Ed Oliver is not only the best athlete on the football team, he is the best athlete for the entire class of 2020. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

Of all the classifications, sophomores gets forgotten the most in college sports.

Prolific freshmen and redshirts get much attention due to their inexperience, and upperclassmen are often the top performers on their teams. Unless a sophomore has a huge year or lingering interest from freshman year, they will likely be forgotten.

UH’s class of 2020 refuses to be looked over.

First, let’s start with the most high-profile of all the sophomores: football defensive tackle Ed Oliver. His résumé speaks for itself. In two years he has recorded 10.5 sacks, 12 pass defenses and 139 tackles. He has been a top five defensive lineman in both seasons, and for his sophomore campaign he was awarded the Outland Trophy, presented to the best interior lineman in college football.

Oliver is the first sophomore to win the Outland Trophy. Given the success he has had in two years with the Cougars, Oliver announced he plans on declaring for the NFL Draft after his junior season, with many analysts predicting he will go in the first round.

While the class 2020 was pushing things on the field, it was also pushing things on the court. Armoni Brooks was an integral part of the men’s basketball team’s NCAA Tournament run. He was No. 5 in the American Athletic Conference for three-point field goal percentage (.419) and he was named the AAC 6th Man of the Year.

Jasmyne Harris was also putting in work for the women’s basketball team. She averaged 19.6 points per game and led the team in total assists (115). This season she had career highs in points, rebounds, steals and assists in a game. She was often called upon to carry the offense as she led the team in points in nearly every game.

Jasmyne’s partner in crime, Angela Harris, also helped carry the burdens on the team. She was only one assist behind Jasmyne for the season with 114. Angela and Jasmyne were 1-2 in scoring, with Angela averaging 14.9 per game. She was also the main defensive presence for the team, leading the conference in steals per game with 2.9. She and Jasmyne shined in a good UH women’s basketball team and led to its first winning season in eight years.

The sophomores not only dominate on the field and the court, but also on the diamond. Trystan Melancon has pitched her way into relevance at UH. The softball team has been playing at a high level recently, and it has been helped by Melancon’s performances.

As a freshman she went 12-7 with nine complete games and struck out 93 opponents. Her performance earned her a spot on the conference all-rookie team. Already she has 47 strikeouts on the year and will be a key tool if the softball team wants to get back to the conference championship game.

Laura Laderoute is making waves, too. A standout performer for the women’s swimming team, Laderoute holds the school record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 53.38s. Her performances in the medley relays were crucial in the team’s back-to-back conference championships.

The class of 2020 has been integral to all teams on campus. It may became the most influential class in UH athletics in recent history. If these athletes continue the success they’ve enjoyed until this point, their names will be etched into this school’s history.

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