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Oklahoma State Football

Collin Oliver Named Most Inspirational Freshman by FWAA, Cowboy Fans Would Agree

January 17, 2022
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STILLWATER – Oklahoma State’s Collin Oliver did not take home the College Football Freshman of the Year Award from the Football Writers Association of America, but he was one of the three finalist and a first-team FWAA Freshman All-American and he was named the Most Inspirational Freshman Player of the Year in college football. That award is pretty fitting for Oliver. His freshman season was inspiring.

All three of the finalists for the Freshman of the Year received awards. Record-breaking Georgia All-America tight end Brock Bowers was named the recipient of the fourth annual FWAA Freshman of the Year. The unquestioned most valuable player on the Georgia offense, Bowers led the Bulldogs with 56 catches for 882 yards and a program-record 13 receiving touchdowns..

Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud was named the fourth annual recipient of the FWAA Freshman Breakout Performance Award.

Oliver, introuduced by one of his defensive line coaches in Joe Bob Clements was named the Most Inspirational Freshman of the Year.

Robert Allen - Pokes Report
Collin Oliver showed his maturity in part with his work ethic.

“By the time he signed with us I was really impressed with his character and what kind of man he was,” Oklahoma State defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements said of Oliver. “He was very mature and he enrolled early and was in our offseason and playing in spring ball when he should have been getting ready for his high school prom. It was very easy and very apparent that this young man has some very special abilities. He led our team in sacks and some of those moments were game clinchers and very special moments for Oklahoma State.”

No kidding! When you get the tackle that finishes off a win over Baylor in a battle of ranked teams early in the season. Then later in the year you finish off a Bedlam win over rival Oklahoma and clinch the top spot in the Big 12 regular season standings with a sack of fellow college football freshman and Sooner sensation Caleb Williams. Hey, those are big moments for any player, much less a true freshman that led his team in sacks with 11.5 and tackles-for-loss with 15.5.

Pat Kinnison - Chief Photographer
Oliver against Baylor early in the season.

“I appreciate all those kinds words and it is crazy because a year ago I had just finished high school and was coming to college and I’m trying to take it in,” Oliver said of the honor and being one of the top freshmen players in the nation. “I’m being humble and just trying to be me out on the football field. I appreciate Coach Clements and our other defensive line coach, Coach (Greg) Richmond. They are a big part of my success and I appreciate and love them for that. Our head coach, Coach Gundy and the whole football staff here at Oklahoma State. I love them all and I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Oliver is special and maybe the craziest part of this is that he is part of a pipeline of edge rushers and talented defensive linemen from one high school in Edmond Santa Fe.

First, there was Calvin Bundage and Bundage was hot and cold at times in his Cowboys career, but started and ended well. He made it to the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Second, there was Trace Ford. Ford also broke through as a freshman and had a strong season. He was even better in his second season and was leading the Cowboys in sacks when he tore his ACL in a late season COVID make-up game at Baylor. He was all set to be back this season and just days before the season opened he tore his other ACL. He is not finishing rehab and set to come back next season where the two Santa Fe alums can team up together on the Cowboys defensive line.

Robert Allen
Oliver (18) was easy to spot at Edmond Santa Fe.

“Edmond Santa Fe is a very high quality football program in Oklahoma. I’ve had a relationship with their defensive coordinator, Coach (Chris) Rose for a long time and when he calls and says he has another one then I’m going to go watch him,” Clements said. “We went and watched him at Santa Fe and we realized he is a very good football player.”

Oliver is humble and he does pay credit to those players from his high school that paved that path he has now made even more illustrious.

“I chose to come here because of what they did here, and I felt I could do some of those things,” Oliver said. “A lot of it is schemes and I saw what they were doing here in these schemes and I felt I could do those things.”

Oliver is fired up and excited to be able to play next season with the players coming back like Brock Martin, Brendon Evers, Tyler Lacy, and yes, now a chance to play on the line with Trace Ford.

Oliver believes that this defensive line can be even better next season and he realizes the work begins tomorrow. No, the work really does begin tomorrow as the first day of offseason is Tuesday, Jan. 18. The next step is going from Freshman All-American to All-American and Oliver is more than capable of that step.

 
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