When Texas wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt went out targeting wideouts in the 2013 class, Jake Oliver was always one of the top guys on the list. And with good reason — Oliver represents the kind of chain-moving, nasty-blocking wideout that Wyatt needed to add to his group.
Oliver finished his Dallas Jesuit career with more receptions than any other wideout in Texas high school history, breaking the record set by Jordan Shipley at Rotan and Burnet by snagging 308 career passes. And perhaps most appropriately, he broke Shipley's record on an eight-yard hitch route.
In high school, Oliver was able to stretch the field with his deceptive speed and polished route running, but in the college game, he projects to Texas's 'Z' or flanker spot that is currently manned by Shipley's younger brother Jaxon Shipley. Typically the most successful players in that role are those who can attack the middle of the defense and carve up defenses in zone coverage or by picking up first downs at key moments.
And Oliver certainly has all of those tools. Over his last three seasons at Jesuit, Oliver averaged 95.3 catches, 1,431 yards (better than 15 yards per catch) and 18 touchdowns per year. Fellow Texas signee Antwuan Davis raved about Oliver following a week's practice at the U.S. Army All-American game, stating that Oliver's feet, body control and route-running made him the toughest to defend on a roster that included Texas A&M signee Ricky Seals-Jones, among others.
The only knock on Oliver is his speed and overall athleticism, though it may be somewhat oversold — Oliver is faster in a straight-line than 2012 signee and current Longhorn Cayleb Jones — and he covers up any potential deficiency there by maximizing what he has.
And his main strength might be when he doesn't get the ball. Oliver runs every route like he's going to get the ball, which not only forces defenses to watch him like a hawk, but also helps to make him a devastating blocker. The big-bodied Oliver has strength and pop at the point of attack, and he often drives his man well away from the play. Coming out of high school, he's likely the best blocking wide receiver Texas has signed in recent years.
People tend to not get overly excited about possession receivers who block well, but they're necessary pieces to have, and Oliver fits that role extremely well.