HOUSTON – Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver was named to the preseason watch lists for both the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday.
The Maxwell Award is presented annually to America’s College Player of the Year, while the Bednarik is awarded each season to the College Defensive Player of the Year.
Monday’s honors come four days after Sports Illustrated named the Houston native the nation’s top defensive player entering the 2017 season.
On the Maxwell Award watch list, Oliver is one of only six defensive players on the list and one of only 16 underclassmen. He is one of only seven underclassmen on the Bednarik watch list.
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A First Team All-American on seven teams as a true freshman, Oliver led all returning defensive linemen nationally with 23 tackles for loss in 2016. He finished second nationally among all positions in tackles for loss last season while leading all defensive linemen nationally with nine pass breakups. The number also led all non-defensive backs in The American and was sixth in the league regardless of position.
The American’s Rookie of the Year, Oliver was also named Scout’s Freshman of the Year and was the winner of the 2016 Bill Willis Award, presented annually to the nation’s top defensive lineman by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.
Playing out of the tackle spot on a three-man line, he was second nationally among all defensive linemen with 47 solo tackles and 13th among all defensive linemen nationally with 66 total tackles.
Oliver’s 66 tackles were second among all freshmen in The American, regardless of position, and led all freshmen defensive linemen nationally. His five sacks led all freshmen in The American. Oliver also led Houston and finished second in The American with three forced fumbles, a number that ranked second nationally among freshmen.