By Alfonso Rivera
East Los Angeles College workhorse Preston Oliver has made quite an impact on the gridiron this season and is getting significant attention from NCAA Division I universities.
The University of Nevada, Purdue and Utah State universities are recruiting Oliver, according to ELAC Head Coach Steve Mojarro. “Oliver is a great kid, talented and hard working. He turns heads when he is on the football field. It has been a pleasure to have coached him,“ Mojarro said.
Oliver was named to the 2012 Southern California Football Association American Division / Mountain Conference Second Team Offense and in 2011 he was named to the First Team Offense.
This season Oliver amassed a total of 1,159 yards from scrimmage scoring 13 touchdowns and one 2-point conversion. He also made one unassisted tackle on defense.
Oliver gained 741 yards rushing from 121 attempts with nine touchdowns while averaging 82.3 yards per game and 6.1 yards per carry. He caught 53 passes for an additional 418 yards and four touchdowns in the air.
Adding to his accolades on the field, Oliver holds an ELAC record for most receptions in a single game. He caught 14 passes for 107 yards in a 40-27 Husky victory over Chaffey College on Oct. 27. The Husky football team finished the season 6-4 overall, with all four losses coming in conference play.
Aman Abye had plenty to say about Oliver. Abye was a high school assistant skills position coach, a former NCAA Div. I running back at the University of Pennsylvania, along with also having played professionally in the Arena Football League for the Los Angeles Avengers.
“(Oliver) is an amazing athlete, strong, tenacious, fast, quick, has good instincts and balance, is elusive and creative. I can go on and on about him,“ Abye said.
“I honestly believe that with his size and skill set he can play at the next level. He is just beginning to scratch the surface of his vast potential,” Abye continued.
After a stellar career at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles that included being named to the All-City team in three consecutive seasons, Oliver decided to take a year off to think about his future.
At the urging of his parents and former high school and current teammate Carlos Portillo, he decided to attend ELAC.
“Coming to ELAC has turned out to be a great decision in my life. I am on track to graduate and continue my education as well as play football at the next level,” Oliver said.
Oliver credits his parents and his former high school coach at Marshall, Andy Moran for instilling the importance of staying in school. “Moran taught me a lot, both on and off the field. He was a great mentor,” said Oliver.
Reflecting on his time spent at ELAC, Oliver continued to say, “The two years I spent at ELAC were fun. It was a great experience and I am grateful for the opportunity. I got to play with an elite quarterback, Aaron Cantu, which enabled both of us to become better players. I leave here knowing that I left it all out there on the field,” Oliver said.
With that attitude and pedigree, it appears that Oliver is headed on the right path and is now looking forward for the next scamper in his life. There is a huge hole for Oliver to run through; perhaps it will be another touchdown.
“I have been playing football all my life, since I was six years old. It is my passion. I love football,” Oliver said.