Oliver Still a Possibility for Wolfpack

According to Southeast Raleigh head coach Chad O'Shea, there is a solid possibility that offensive lineman Robert Oliver could qualify for college eligibility.

And if he does, there is an even stronger possibility that NC State could offer him a scholarship – something that Oliver has desired for a long time.

Should all of this come to fruition and Oliver accepts an offer from the Wolfpack, he would be the third Southeast lineman in three years to attend NC State, following the likes of redshirt freshman and current starter Leroy Harris and true freshman Yomi Ojo.

At Southeast's Class 4-AA first round playoff win over Apex Friday night, O'Shea was more than happy to offer an update on Oliver's status and the chances of him going to State. "I think Robert has a good shot at being qualified," he said. "We're just waiting for them [the State coaching staff] to make a move. Between sending Leroy over and Yomi over, they should take a real serious look at Robert for offensive line."

Of course, having a lineman like Oliver is not uncommon for O'Shea, and not just because of the presence of Harris and Ojo in previous seasons. Southeast has a reputation for having some of the biggest linemen in the area, and the coaches do an excellent job of developing them as well. In fact, the extensive weight training program developed by O'Shea and strength coach Jeff Occhipinti, has produced some of the school's best results in six-year O'Shea era at Southeast.

Just by looking at the linemen O'Shea has at his disposal, it is clear that he and his coaches have a great deal to work with. Consider this: Oliver, who is currently listed at 6-5, 315 lbs., is not even the biggest lineman on the roster. That distinction belongs to sophomore Justin Short, who is listed at (no joke) 6-8, 390 lbs. If you add these two to a group consisting of junior David Haywood (6-1, 311), junior Michael Vassil (6-3, 284), senior Cameron Johnson (6-2, 290) and junior Michael Murphy (6-5, 250), you would have a bigger offensive line than many Division I colleges. Can you imagine how they look to an opposing defense when Brian Simmons (another possible Wolfpack target who is listed at 6-6, 280) lines up at tight end?

This group is one of the main reasons Southeast Raleigh has one of the area's most impressive running attacks. In fact, in their 47-0 win over Apex Friday, they managed to rack up nearly 300 yards rushing against one of the toughest run defenses in the area. And with a line like that, it's no small wonder how Southeast can often be as good a passing team as they are a running team by giving their quarterback plenty of time to hit receivers.

O'Shea also likes to make sure that his linemen are quick and skilled, as well. During Friday's game, O'Shea called a running play for left guard Halim Allman, where he pulled, took a hand-off from the quarterback and ran behind the right tackle for a five-yard gain. Just another example of the expectations O'Shea has for his linemen.

"Yeah, we allow the linemen to run with the ball," he said. "I told Allman, ‘now you've got one carry for five yards – that's you're running career. Now go back and block a few thousand more times.'"

O'Shea had not used Oliver in such a play yet, but the extra skills he has learned in practice over the years can only help him as he seeks that scholarship offer from NC State. Will the Wolfpack offer Robert if he qualifies? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure – they can't go wrong with a lineman of Oliver's size and skill coming from a traditionally strong program like Southeast Raleigh.

"They've got film, they've got transcripts," said O'Shea. "They've got everything they need. They just need to make a move. We're just waiting for a phone call from them."


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