Paul Oliver from Marietta (Ga.) Harrison comes from one of the top football programs in Georgia and football runs in his family. Oliver, a 6-foot, 185-pound cornerback, has a brother who currently plays at West Georgia and an uncle who donned the colors of the Georgia Bulldogs. However, the top cornerback in the state of Georgia and possibly on the east coast isn’t going to be influenced when it comes to making a college decision – and the Bulldogs have a fight on their hands to keep him at home.
“My uncle has just encouraged me to go where I’ll be happy,” Oliver said. “He’s been great about helping out.”
Not only have the Bulldogs offered the talented defensive back a scholarship, but other elite programs like Florida State, Texas, Florida, Miami, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Clemson and Tennessee have also tendered a free ride. Oliver knows what he wants in a school.
“Football-wise, I’m looking for a school where I will have a good chance of starting early,” he explained. “I also want to stay in the south. That’s important to me.”
Oliver has been playing football since the second grade. Now 18 years old, he looks back on his football career by saying, “It’s really affected my life. Football is my ticket to a free education...a good half of my free time is spent playing football. But, I just love it, I’ve always loved it.”
Oliver is being recruited exclusively to play cornerback, which is his preferred position. He also plays wide receiver and some running back for Harrison High School, but his ball skills, speed and defensive instincts make him a natural shutdown cornerback. Oliver says that he has two favorite football players, Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey.
“They kind of model my kind of play and they’re both really good two-way players, especially Champ Bailey,” Oliver remarked.
This summer, Oliver plans to attend the Georgia camp with his teammates and will likely attend the Auburn camp as well. Oliver’s teammates include national recruit Jason Evans, one of the top running backs in the country, as well a number of other linebackers and linemen who are also planning on going to a D1A program.
“We’re really excited that this is our year to make a run for the state championship,” he said. Oliver’s team has made it to the championship before, but failed to win the pivotal championship game. This year, Oliver plans to wear his lucky t-shirt that he wore all last year.
“It’s worked out well for me so far,” Oliver noted. “I started wearing it and had a good game and felt it brought me and the team luck.”
Oliver also runs track for his high school, “but I didn’t get to do it this year because I pulled a hamstring,” However, he is still considering running track in college, but is still unsure. He also enjoys playing video games but noted, “Between school and football...the only free time I do have, I rest.”
Oliver’s stats are impressive, suggesting why he has already received so many offers from top-notch programs. In addition to his excellent size for a cornerback, Oliver is also very strong with a 260-pound bench press maximum and a squat of 405 pounds. He also wowed everyone with an impressive 36-inch vertical jump at the Nike camp this past April and has been clocked at under 4.4-seconds in the 40-yard dash on numerous occasions.
Academically, Oliver has achieved a 2.4 GPA and got an 860 on the SAT the first time he took the test last fall. Last season he had nine interceptions and almost 50 tackles on defense while amassing around 800 yards as a wideout on more than 30 catches. He also ran four punts back for touchdowns.
When asked to describe himself, Oliver instantly begins naming off the type of key words that college coaches want to hear.
“I’m aggressive, but not tense or nervous out on the field,” he said. “I consider myself a relaxed person and I don’t let too much get to me on or off the field. I'm also a very hard worker.”
As for his plans for the future, Oliver is going to take his official visits this fall.
“I did want to commit before the season, but now I think I’m going to commit after I take all my visits because you need to see the school and get a feel for it first,” he explained. “But I definitely want to commit before signing day.”
So far, Oliver has found all of the coaches from his favorite schools to be very impressive, so it appears this high school junior still has a very difficult decision ahead as he tries to plan his future. One thing is for sure, yet another Oliver will be gracing the gridiron for some lucky program.