East County Sports

Oliver will join local contingent at SDSU

Steele Canyon senior Mikel Oliver



SPRING VALLEY – MIKEL OLIVER’s rise to football success has been openly documented, but the best is likely yet to come for the Steele Canyon High senior.

The son of a young mother of four from Minnesota, Oliver was an academic misfit as a youth because of the family’s struggles to find a permanent home.

Two years ago, the two-way star was brought into the home of Cougars’ head coach SCOTT LONGERBONE for a little over a month, and the shelter, security and consistency is just what the gifted 6-foot-4, 240-pounder needed to get his athletic and school life on track.

The result of the coach’s guidance both on and off the field has led the East County Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 to score a scholarship to play football at San Diego State University in 2018.

It didn’t take long as Oliver was reportedly offered by the Aztecs less than a week ago. San Diego-pipeliner Dixie State also courted the consensus two-star player, as did the University of Idaho.

Oliver joins a growing list of San Diego County players who are certainly buying into the direction of the Aztecs’ program under head coach Rocky Long.

Just this week, four notable locals have verbally committed to SDSU.

Oliver, a defensive end/tight end, landed on the All-East County defensive second team last season. Only injuries kept the star from his rightful spot among the area’s best.

He is easily one of the top returning defensive players in the East County in 2017.

Oliver is a big-time playmaker not only on both sides of the ball, but on special teams, as well.

As a sophomore, he famously blocked a punt and then returned it for a touchdown with less than a minute-and-a-half left in the game to cap a comeback from a 28-0 deficit to defeat Grossmont, 39-35, in a CIF quarterfinal game in La Mesa.

Oliver has 19 career receptions, including two touchdowns in his prep career at SC. Numbers he could easily surpass in just one healthy season in ’17.

He had 30 tackles and 4 sacks in 2016, while in his sophomore season, he had 79 tackles (38 solo), 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries.

In 6 games as a freshman at St. Paul (MN) Harding, he had 32 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 interception

The Aztecs may prefer him on the defensive side of the ball, as several scouts note him as a weak-side end, but there’s no doubt Oliver likes to go long and find the end zone, as his late grandfather, Joe, taught him.

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