Tymir Oliver was a fixture on the 2017 defensive line and helped to anchor the young unit during a tumultuous season.
Oliver played mostly on special teams as a freshman in 2016, but his talent and dedication earned him a spot in the defensive rotation last season. Oliver’s ten starts in 2017 are even more impressive given Lovie Smith’s penchant for prioritizing players who he recruited, as Oliver’s considerable playing time indicates that he outperformed talented freshmen from the recruiting class of 2017.
The trait that stands out most when watching Oliver’s film is his strength and ability to move opposing linemen:
Drivestopper, @TymirOliver. pic.twitter.com/fgtGhP8oDr— Illini Football (@IlliniFootball) November 25, 2017
Oliver’s ability to overwhelm his opponents also stems from his sound technique and footwork, which are key skills that linemen must master to play at a high level.
No doubt, the younger defensive tackles like Kendrick Green and Lere Oladipo will look to Oliver as a leader in their position group. Experienced players were a rarity last season due to a large number of true freshmen being thrown into games early-on. Oliver can play an important role by being one of those few older leaders and by helping his younger teammates learn the defensive schemes while they focus on growth.
College football teams can never have too many talented and experienced linemen on either side of the ball, and Tymir Oliver will play a key role by being one of those valuable players.