HOUSTON -- Already a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, Houston sophomore defensive tackle Ed Oliver has been named a finalist for the 2017 Outland Trophy, presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman, The Football Writers Association of America announced Monday.
The winner of the Outland Trophy will be revealed on Thursday, Dec. 7, on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Oliver is Houston’s first finalist for either award in program history.
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A First Team All-American as a true freshman, Oliver leads the nation with a career average of 1.46 tackles for loss per game, totaling 34 tackles for loss in only 23 career games played.
This season, despite losing a game to Hurricane Harvey and missing three quarters of another from picking up a knee injury at Temple on Sept. 30 that limited him in the next four games, Oliver is third on the Houston team with 55 tackles, which ranks fourth nationally among all defensive tackles and second among all tackles playing on a three-man front.
His 11 tackles for loss, seven quarterback hurries and 3.5 sacks all lead the Cougars. He has also broken up three passes, blocked a field goal, forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble. Oliver’s 11 tackles for loss also rank second nationally among defensive tackles playing on a three-man front.
He’s recorded multiple tackles for loss in three games this season and now has 11 career games with multiple tackles for loss. Constantly double and triple teamed, Oliver has at least five tackles in six of 10 games this season.
With two forced fumbles in 2017, Oliver now has five for his career and ranks sixth nationally with a career average of 0.22 forced fumbles per game. His next forced fumble would move him into eighth on the Houston career records chart.
Oliver’s sophomore season follows a freshman campaign that saw the Houston native earn First Team All-America honors from seven different national outlets as he led The American and finished second nationally with 23 tackles for loss. He also led all defensive linemen nationally with nine pass breakups en route to claiming The American’s Rookie of the Year honor.
One of three finalists for the Outland, Oliver is joined by two offensive linemen in earning the distinction – Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown and Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson.