Ed Oliver has played his last college game. The highly-touted defensive lineman announced Friday on Twitter that he will skip the University of Houston's bowl game to start preparations for the 2019 NFL draft.
He missed four games this season with a bruise right knee, and aggravated a knee injury in the regular-season finale against Memphis. He doesn't want to risk additional issues in an as yet undetermined bowl game that could impact his draft stock.
Oliver, who will leave after his junior season, is consistently considered a top-10 NFL draft prospect.
The Raiders will have a high draft pick in 2019 thanks to a disastrous season – selections acquired in Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack trades will be low with Dallas and Chicago surging toward the postseason – and desperately need help along the defensive front.
Oliver's a monster at 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, and a nonstop motor disrupting plays from the interior. He can win with finesse or power, and is incredibly disruptive.
The Raiders need help off the edge and drafted interior players Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall in last year's draft, but Oliver could be appealing with a high pick. They need explosive playmakers across the defensive line to help an NFL-worst run defense and an equally poor pass rush.
Oliver had 193 tackles, including 54 for a loss, and 13.5 sacks in three seasons with the Cougars. He had a rocky end of his college tenure due to injury and an on-field dustup with Houston coach Major Applewhite over a jacket.
Here's the full tweet Oliver sent on Friday.