InsideTheSpartans’ No. 4 selection for San Jose State’s top impact newcomers from the 2015 recruiting class was Bailey Gaither, wide receiver of Paso Robles. Our No. 3 pick is from the same high school, Josh Oliver. It appears the duo from the Central Coast will be quite the haul for the Spartans.
Oliver and Gaither were best friends throughout high school and had always wanted to go to the same school. Now they are excelling well together.
"We always talked about going to school together," Oliver told InsideTheSpartans earlier this year. "As soon as he got the offer we thought it would be a great opportunity. He thought about it and then he decided to commit."
While Gaither may be a surprise in the two-deep for week one, Oliver has quickly filled a void left by Andrew Vollert. Oliver even took reps with the first team in the open scrimmage. When the Spartans’ top tight end Billy Freeman missed extended time last season, Vollert stepped up with 22 receptions for 335 yards and a touchdown. That second TE option will not be as sorely missed with Oliver on the rotation.
JuCo transfer LeVander Moore and redshirt freshman Matt Spadaro, who moved from defensive line, are also both in the mix. The Spartans will have several, multiple tight end set this season so you can expect to see all of them on the field in some capacity.
The difference in Oliver, however, is that he is legitimate receiving threat for the Spartans. The 6-foot-5 athlete is versatile - he played anywhere from slot receiver to tight end to h-back and even outside linebacker for his high school team. He also played basketball in high school, a favorable trait for pass-catching tight ends. Oliver caught 42 passes for 608 yards and 8 touchdowns over two seasons in high school.
"I'm a receiving tight end, but I'll block," Oliver said. "I'm 6-5, so it's easy to get the ball to me."
Oliver reported to camp this season at 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds. That makes the true freshman big enough to hold his own as a blocker while maintaining speed and athleticism.
Prediction: San Jose State will use a wide variety of formations, but when the Spartans are in multiple tight end sets with the possibility to throw the ball, you can expect Oliver to be on the field. Expect for Freeman to have a breakout year with Oliver preventing teams to focus on Freeman when defenses adjust. Oliver grabs multiple touchdowns as a freshman this season.