Khalil Oliver wasnt initially convinced that defense was all that great.
After several practices as an Optimist football player, Oliver wanted to switch to offense, where hed get to touch the football.
But after playing his first game, his opinion quickly changed.
I realized I liked it a lot more, Oliver said. By the time we started to get to pads in Optimist, that was my favorite part. I love coming up to a kid and hitting him. That and making the quarterback embarrassed when you pick off the ball.
Oliver will be doing a lot of both this season as a starting senior defensive back for Rocky Mountain.
In March, his natural skill and instincts landed him a scholarship at Boise State, and established him as one of the top players in the state.
As studious as he is athletic, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Oliver carries a 3.65 GPA and plans to pursue a career in the medical field when he enrolls at Boise State.
Khalil is very intelligent and very aggressive, Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner said. He has a very strong football acumen. He is academically smart, and it transfers to the field. Hes very rare that way.
Last season, Oliver helped Rocky Mountain earn the distinction of the 5A Southern Idaho Conferences best defense, accounting for 43 solo tackles, 32 assisted tackles, five tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and two interceptions on his way to an All-Idaho selection.
First-year coach Criner said he plans to weave Oliver into the offense this season, too.
I think its a great opportunity to do that, but my first responsibility is defense and making sure our defense is set, Oliver said. Im really excited to play offense and be able to play on both sides of the ball, but Im mostly focused on defense and helping my defense get there. I know our offense can take care of themselves.
Whether they have me or not, we are going to be successful on the offensive side of the ball with coach Criner.