Coming off the first Junior Day weekend that failed to produce a single commitment in the 2013 class to join Celina OL/DL Jake Raulerson, the Longhorns finally added the much-anticipated second commit on Wednesday morning when Dallas Jesuit WR Jake Oliver gave his pledge ($) to the Texas coaching staff, as reported by Hookem.com.
In recent days, it sounded like Oliver could be close to a decision, as he indicated to the services that he was planning to sit down and speak with his father about the recruiting process, which has now come to a head with Oliver holding nearly 50 offers from programs around the country.
Texas had surged into the lead amid rumors that the family didn't care for the handling of former coach Mike Sherman's firing, which may have been a significant factor in swinging the pendulum in favor of Texas only months after it seemed like the A&M legacy was a heavy Aggie lean.
But Oliver maintained throughout the process that he was open to other schools and proved that to be the case with his commitment.
The family detailed how the process went down in a press release ($) to Hookem.com:
The winning tradition, family atmosphere and feeling of home on the U.T. campus were key factors in his decision. Jake attended several U.T. games during their National Championship season and believes that with the current coaching staff, the players on campus, the 2012 recruiting class and another great class in 2013 a National Title will be coming back to Austin very soon.
Another major determining factor in his decision was a Degree from the University of Texas. Jake grew up in Dallas, Texas and attends Dallas Jesuit College Preparatory and education is very important in his life. Jesuit taught him how to balance a full academic load while also participating in athletics and community service. Jake believes the University of Texas will be a great extension for his academic future.
Jake Oliver #6 ~ Dallas Jesuit ~ 6'4 198 4.59 ~ 2011 Junior Highlights (via fieldhouseusa1)
At 6-4 and about 200 pounds, Oliver will provide a big target for future Texas quarterbacks and creates separation in high school with his overall fluidity and ability to set up defensive backs by changing speeds. Watching Oliver in 7on7, it was clear that he has an advanced understand of how to lull defenders to sleep before using every bit of somewhat limited explosiveness to get open, especially deep.
Even when he doesn't create separation, Oliver can still make plays with his impressive leaping ability off two feet and can consistently high-point the football, leading to an immensely productive junior season that saw the Jesuit product score 24 touchdowns and record more than 1,600 receiving yards.
Here are the thoughts from bill from the Jesuit-Skyline game he saw last fall:
Oliver's listed height of 6'3'' looks legitimate. As the picture shows, Oliver is well developed kid that has spent some time in the weight room. He doesn't get pushed around out there. He uses his strength, body, football IQ and route running skills to get open. The concern with Oliver is his speed. It looked like he improved his speed over the summer. He's never going to be a burner, but I have less concern with him creating separation from DBs. He does have good acceleration and gets to top speed quickly. He can take a slant or screen, plant and get upfield immediately. I didn't see any wasted motions, he's very efficient.
What I like best about Oliver is that he uses his body very well. If Oliver has inside position, he can use his side to screen defenders. He's a very tough match up for smaller DBs, if he has inside position, it's over with. He also catches the ball at it's highest point, making him nearly unstoppable on jump balls.
Oliver drew a very tough match - up in Cedric Collins and the Skyline defense. Skyline bracketed Oliver early, but later left Collins alone on an island against him. Collins also understands positioning and had the speed to stay with Oliver all night. Oliver rarely got separation on passes down the field. He was held to 4 catches for 20 yards. He had a chance for a touchdown on 4th and goal in the first quarter, but Collins slapped it away.
Despite his poor production against Skyline, my opinion on Oliver remains unchanged. He's the most complete WR in the 2013 class. Jake Oliver is the top junior WR on Coach Wyatt's board. On the season Oliver has 62 catches,847 yards and 9 TDs.
If there's a criticism of Oliver, it's that he doesn't have the best top-end speed or short-area explosiveness, much like 2012 commit Cayleb Jones. As a result, there will probably be some concerns about how well he can get open in college, but Oliver is such a steady producer that while his speed may limit his ceiling, his floor seems as high as any prospect in the class, a major factor in all those schools extending offers.
Just be ready for some exposure fatigue as the process moves along as a result, much as happened with Jones. This is projecting pretty far down the line, but Oliver's performance in major national 7on7 events (assuming he particpates) and in whatever high school all-star game he decides to play in could have a signficant impact on his final rankings.
Still, the major takeaway here is that the Longhorns added a big-time receiver in the class who should provide the type of deep threat that co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin loves, as well as the type of steady possession who can become a quarterback's best friend. And even if Oliver doesn't have the pure, raw talent to become a transcendent player at Texas, there's virtually no doubt that he will be a strong contributor.