SAN JOSE — Former Paso Robles Bearcats standout Josh Oliver has been named to the 2018 John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List following his breakout season last year as a junior tight end for the San Jose State Spartans. Oliver was a star player on the Central Coast playing tight end and defensive line for the Bearcats and was named San Luis Obispo County’s, The CIF Southern Section Northern Division, and PAC 5 Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 when he graduated from Paso.
“Being named to the list, the John Mackey list,” Oliver said. “Is just a huge honor and blessing to be named to something that prestigious.”
The John Mackey Award watch list recognizes 64 of the top Division 1 tight ends across the nation. The award has been given out each year since 2000 and already has 14 alumni that have played or are currently playing in the NFL. Some of the former winners include Super Bowl champions Dallas Clark (won the award in ’02), and Heath Evans (‘04), and more recently Hunter Henry (‘15) of the Los Angeles Chargers and Tyler Eifert (‘12) of the Cincinnati Bengals.
For the Bearcats, Oliver caught 42 passes for 608 yards and eight touchdowns in his junior and senior years. In his breakout season last year for San Jose, Oliver hauled in 35 catches for 296 yards and a touchdown for the Spartans and finished second on the team in receptions. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Oliver spent most of his first three years with the Spartans as a blocker but has emerged as a huge presence down the seams of opposing defenses.
As a senior now, Oliver is the most tenured player on the Spartans’ offense with 37 games played and 24 starts in his first three seasons. San Jose will need to lean on their leadership if they hope to bounce back after a disappointing 2-11 season with one of their wins coming against Cal Poly who finished their season in Division 1AA at 1-10.
“We have been working hard all offseason with the weights and conditioning,” Oliver said. “It is going to be a cool offense. We have the tight end flexed in and out, that is the beauty of it, they have us both in the
Oliver is not new to winning awards, the senior is already a three-time Academic All-Mountain West award recipient and a 2017 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar.
With only one season to go in college, Oliver says he is looking forward to, “Just going out and taking the field one last time with my brothers. We have built a connection over these last four years and it is just something special to be able to go out and take the field one last time with all my brothers.”
Oliver accepted a scholarship to play at San Jose State in 2015 and says his number one piece of advice to local ballplayers would be to, “Just keep working hard. You will be able to get exposure with the work you put in, I mean, if you keep putting in work it will show on the field and I feel like exposure will come your way.”