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Insider

With Oliver, Texas beats rivals and gets a playmaker

2/15/2012

Go ahead and exhale.

It’s OK. Three days is a long time to hold it all in. So breathe deep. And sigh in relief because finally, 72 hours after Texas’ first junior day, the Longhorns have received a commitment. Like they all are, this is a big one.

Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit) is considered one of the better playmakers at the wide receiver position in the state. But for Texas he is more than that.

Oliver represents the second big-name commitment of 2013. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound prospect is also the second recruiting win over rivals Oklahoma and Texas A&M. While the former has been a formidable foe in recruiting for several years now, the latter is just now emerging as a threat because of new coach Kevin Sumlin.

The Aggies have already locked up six commitments with two of those being two of the bigger name wide receivers in the state -- Jamar Gibson (Baytown, Texas/Sterling) and Derrick Griffin (Rosenberg, Texas/Terry).

The draw, particularly for wide receivers, is the huge numbers Sumlin’s offense produces. The draw for Oliver may have been even more than that. Oliver’s father, Gary, played at Texas A&M. So there was a familiarity with the campus and the program.

As for Oklahoma, Oliver’s brother is a student in Norman. The Sooners have been after the younger sibling for as long as Texas has.

That is was the Longhorns who ultimately landed him should serve as a signal that things are going to be just fine this recruiting season just as they were with the 2012 class and all those before them.

The other quality that Oliver brings to the program is a receiver who knows the game. That cannot be overvalued.

In fact, for the third straight year Texas has managed to get a commitment from a wide receiver whose father either played in college or coached. Jaxon Shipley and Cayleb Jones are the other two.

That typically leads to a more mature player, meaning the player is better suited to make an impact on the team in his freshman year. That was certainly the case with Shipley who was Texas’ most reliable receiver in 2011.

Jones, who signed with the 2012 class, is expected to contend for playing time and possibly even a starting position in August.

Oliver still has another year of high school left. But he is already putting up huge numbers. As a junior Oliver had more than 1,300 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns.

His size should allow Texas to tinker with him playing multiple spots and possibly even trying him as a hybrid wide receiver/tight end. Florida had great success doing the same thing with Aaron Hernandez, who smaller in stature, but with some of the same skill.

Until he arrives, Texas will have to lean on Oliver to be one of its lead recruiters much in the same way that Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) has been talking to other prospects.