Thursday, October 02, 2008

Born to Run | by Pat

Notre Dame's team speed got another shot in the arm when New Jersey wide receiver Nyshier Oliver, or more specifically his high school coach, when public with the news that he had committed to Notre Dame.

It is a pleasure for me to announce that last night I spoke with Head Coach and New Jersey native Charlie Weiss [sic] and committed Nyshier to the University of Notre Dame. I want to thank all who have supported Nyshier throughout his academic and athletic career at Prep. It is a great choice and proper fit for him. I now look forward to Nyshier finishing out his time at Prep in great fashion, performing on the field and in the classroom, fulfilling all of our expectations."
Oliver is the 15th public commit in the class of 2009 and 4th player from New Jersey. Charlie has never been shy about liking recruits from his home state and this year he's bringing in more than in any other class.

The calling card for the 5'10" 170 pound Nyshier Oliver appears to be speed and athleticism. He plays running back for his high school but is currently slated to play wide receiver for the Fighting Irish. Assuming he slides into a role as a slot receiver he will present a great change of pace from the larger receivers in the past two classes (Kamara, Floyd, Walker, Goodman) Oliver has also spent time as a defensive back so he has the versatility to help out as a safety or maybe even cornerback if the need arises. In fact, a number of schools were recruiting him as a defensive player.

Back in June, Oliver publically committed to Tennessee. But two months later he backed off the committment citing a desire to check out more schools. In the end, he decided on the Fighting Irish over an impressive offer list that includes Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Boston College, and a number of other programs. Like with current commit E.J. Banks, it's always a good sign when SEC schools go after skill positions kids from the north.

Like current commit E.J. Banks, Oliver's recruit rankings aren't as impressive as his offer list. On he is a 4-star recruit listed as a 22nd best safety. Rivals only hands out 3 stars and a 34th best "athlete" ranking to Oliver. ESPN is the harshest, listing Oliver as the 72nd best "athlete". That low ranking is somewhat at odds with their writeup of him however.
Oliver should be nicknamed Houdini being he can slip through the smallest of places without being touched by the opposition. Even though he's not the biggest skilled athlete in the country, he is a very talented football player. Colleges might tend to recruit him as a safety, but he is very good running back and overall offensive skill player. He is equally as effective running inside or outside. He can cut the isolation play back against the grain for big yards or bounce it all the way out to the perimeter then use his great speed to take it down the sideline.
Oliver was named Hudson County Player of the Year last season and a 3rd Team All-State player while rushing for over 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns from the running back position. As part of a preview of this season, an opposing coach had this to say about Oliver.

"What a great player. You can put him up against any player in the state, and I'm talking offensively or defensively. He's one of those guys that you never want to see the ball in his hands, because you know, chances are, he's going to hurt you."
Aside from his highlights on, you can see a quick glimpse of Oliver on offense at the 1:44 mark of this video and on defense at the 1:24 mark of this video. His size and lack of a clearly defined position may have depressed his recruiting rankings somewhat, but he certainly appears to be a speedy addition to a team that can always use another quick and shifty speedster.