Ed Oliver Won't Play in Houston's Bowl Game to Train for 2019 NFL Draft

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

Houston Cougars defensive tackle Ed Oliver does the Cougar Paw with his teammates and the Bayou Bucket trophy after defeating Rice in a NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, widely regarded as one of the top NFL prospects in the country, has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the 2019 NFL draft.

Oliver announced Friday he will skip the Cougars' bowl game in order to begin his draft preparations:

Ed Oliver @Edoliver_11

Excited for the next chapter https://t.co/oAXrxeADKm

His decision hardly comes as a surprise, as he said in a statement in March that the 2018 season would be his last in college football.

"This was a dream of mine coming in," Oliver said. "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."

There will be a spotlight on Oliver during the predraft process after he missed four games for the Cougars in 2018 because of a knee injury. He was originally listed as day-to-day with a bruised knee suffered after taking a low block during an Oct. 20 game against Navy.

Despite the injury, Oliver's draft stock doesn't seem to have taken a hit. B/R's Matt Miller has the 20-year-old ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect on his latest big board behind Ohio State's Nick Bosa.

In September, Miller called Oliver an "athletic marvel" who was "unstoppable" during his college years and generated comparisons to Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald.

During Oliver's three seasons at Houston, he recorded 53 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks and was named a first-team All-American in 2016 and 2017.

Oliver has nothing left to prove in college and possesses a sky-high draft ceiling. He will now attempt to become the first Houston player ever selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft.