Houston Cougars defensive tackle Ed Oliver isn't wasting any time in preparation for the next step in his football career. Oliver announced Monday he intends on entering the 2019 NFL draft.
"This was a dream of mine coming in," Oliver said in a statement on the Cougars' official website. "I knew I was going on a business trip, and whether my business trip was three years or four years it just depended on how early I got on the field and how effective I was."
Through his first two seasons at Houston, Oliver has 139 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss. As a sophomore in 2017, he was a consensus first-team All-American and the Outland Trophy winner.
Houston head coach Major Applewhite told ESPN.com's Sam Khan Jr. last month Oliver should at least warrant a mention in the 2018 Heisman Trophy discussion.
"We have to see what he does on the field [this season]," Applewhite said. "I think he deserves to be in the conversation. If the award is what it says it is, which is the best player in college football, then he deserves to be in the conversation."
Sure, a lot can happen between now and the 2019 draft to hurt Oliver's pro prospects, but there isn't much downside to him making his intentions known now. If Oliver has an underwhelming 2019 season, then he can simply walk back Monday's announcement and return for his senior year.
Assuming he stays healthy, Oliver will warrant first-round status this time next year.