Where did he come from?
— Tennessee Recruiting (@Tenn_Recruiting) June 23, 2014
Three star tight end Kyle Oliver committed to Tennessee from Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he plays with another future Volunteer, Jack Jones. For those of you who aren't familiar with Tennessee high school football, Oakland and crosstown rival Riverdale are two of the largest and most successful football programs in the top division of public school football in the state.
How did he end up at Tennessee?
Oliver committed to the Vols as part of the Orange Carpet recruiting weekend, which he attended with fellow Murfreesboro residents and Vols commitments Jack Jones and Jauan Jennings. Oliver is part of another strong crop of in-state recruits, most of whom know each other from camps and in-season rivalries. He is friends with a number of other mid-state Tennessee targets like four star JUCO cornerback Justin Martin (from Nashville; pictured with Oliver above) and four star cornerback Cam Ordway (from Pulaski).
Oliver holds offers from thirteen top division programs and Michigan-killer Appalachian State, with a mixture of SEC (Tennessee, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Ole Miss), other major conference (Duke, Louisville, Purdue), and MAC-level (Bowling Green, Toledo, Western Kentucky, Eastern Michigan) offers. Florida State was also interested in Oliver after he attended one of their football camps, although the Seminoles had not extended an offer at the time he committed.
How will he fit into the Tennessee offense?
Oliver is listed as a tight end by the recruiting services, but he does not play tight end for his high school team. Instead, he is a traditional split end, playing on the single wide receiver side of the formation outside the numbers. Physically, he is a lanky 6'5, 228 pounds, with a large wingspan and a frame capable of carrying significantly more weight. On film, Oliver is a long-striding player without the speed or quickness to consistently get separation from SEC-level defensive backs. However, he has elite downfield blocking skills, showing both strength and tenacity in burying players he is assigned to block. Oliver also shows good recognition and body control, using his massive frame to shield smaller, quicker defenders from the ball. He has strong hands and good concentration, high-pointing the ball in the air and holding on even with defenders draped all over him. With proper nutrition and time in the strength program, Oliver should mature into an SEC-level contributor as a receiving threat. If he embraces the transition from the outside to the trenches, he could emerge as a complete tight end, pairing good receiving skills with the power and size to succeed as an in-line blocker.