- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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He broke the state record for career receptions at Dallas Jesuit, but these days that doesn’t mean a thing for Jake Oliver. The slate has been wiped clean for the ESPN 300 receiver signee.
Now that Oliver is a Longhorn and in the middle of summer workouts, the star ratings and broken records are meaningless. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound receiver has a new reputation to establish.
And he’ll have to do quickly. Texas suspended receivers Cayleb Jones and Kendall Sanders for the season opener, and that means the Longhorns’ three incoming wideouts have an opportunity to prove they deserve immediate playing time.
We caught up with Oliver before he enrolled at Texas to discuss his expectations for 2013, the new Texas offensive scheme and the game he’s got circled on his calendar.
HornsNation: What kind of gains did you make with your workouts this spring?
Jake Oliver: I’ve improved my strength a lot, and I’ve built up a little bit. I’ve improved on my speed and agility, and I’ve been working with [Texas A&M signee] Jordan Mastrogiovanni and [Iowa State signee] J.D. Waggoner. We’ve really pushed each other and made each other better this offseason. I think that’ll really show when we step on the field this year.
Oliver: Yeah, I’ve gotten very lucky this year. Mike will be a senior and Jaxon will be a junior. To have their experience on the team and to be able to learn from them is great, because they didn’t have that when they were my age.
HN: Those two became starters as true freshmen. Is that the must for you? What do you expect this fall?
Oliver: I would love to play as a freshman, but it’s honestly not in my hands. I just have to work as hard as I can and do as much as I can, and hopefully I get that shot. If I don’t, I’m still going to work just as hard and work my way up to prove I can play.
HN: Back in the fall, you mentioned you’d love to see Texas go back to the spread offense. A few months later, they decide to transition to up-tempo and put more receivers on the field. How satisfying is that?
Oliver: I can’t wait. I’ve had that my entire high school career, so to have that offense in college, I honestly think this can be the best, most exciting offense in college football. I’m glad they switched to it. That’s the [way] old Texas is remembered that had a lot of success. We can have a lot of success in this offense.
HN: You got to know Tyrone Swoopes well during this process. How surprised were you to hear that he’s pushing for immediate playing time?
Oliver: I watched Tyrone in the spring game, and he did pretty well. It’s funny, I’ve been saying this all along and people doubted it: He’s a true quarterback. I’ve believed that since Day 1. I really believe in him, and I hope we can work together. I respect David Ash. David is a great quarterback and he’s 100 percent the starter right now, but to grow with Tyrone in these next couple years will be a great thing.
HN: You chose Texas over Oklahoma but had more than 50 offers. What kind of negative recruiting did you hear from other coaches about Texas?
Oliver: I always heard, over these last couple years, that Texas will never be back and they’re down. I’ve heard all that stuff. The fact of the matter is, the last non-SEC school to win a national championship was Texas. They’ve been to two national championships in the past 10 years. Texas competes with the best of the best. I bought in and fell in love with the program.
HN: How do you feel about the cultural change you’ve signed up for in coming to Austin from an all-male, private Catholic school?
Oliver: It’s going to be weird to even have girls in my class. I haven’t had that since I was in eighth grade. It’s going to be a weird sight to see, not that I mind that at all. I love Austin and everything about it. It reminds me of Dallas but is a little bit different, and I’m a city kid.
HN: Being a Dallas kid, what’s a bigger deal: Your first game under the lights at DKR, or your first Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl?
Oliver: Oh man. Uh, I don’t know. They’re about the same. A lot of my friends are going to Oklahoma, too, so they talk to me about that all the time. That’s just such a special game and the biggest rivalry in college football. Ooh, it gives me goose bumps just talking about it.