High School Football

Ducks’ Oliver seeks starting spot (with list of Idahoans in FBS)

Khalil Oliver registered a personal-best seven tackles, including five solo, in Oregon’s season finale last season against TCU in the Alamo Bowl.
Khalil Oliver registered a personal-best seven tackles, including five solo, in Oregon’s season finale last season against TCU in the Alamo Bowl. Oregon Office of Communications

When the Oregon Ducks released their depth chart for the football team’s opener at home against UC Davis on Saturday, 2014 Rocky Mountain High graduate Khalil Oliver was listed as the backup to redshirt junior safety Juwaan Williams.

But a strong performance against the Aggies could vault Oliver into the starting lineup.

The redshirt sophomore played in all 13 games last season for an inexperienced secondary that defended 555 passes — tops among FBS teams.

“I definitely think that (the secondary) can be a strength of our defense this year, especially with the guys who are returning and the knowledge we gained from last year,” Oliver said. “Last year’s team, we were younger and naive and everything like that. This year, I feel a lot of our guys have matured in a way to where we’re not playing like the young guys anymore, we are playing with confidence.”

Oliver (6-0, 200) last year had 27 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery. He will play a major role on special teams for the second straight year and is likely to see significant playing time at safety.

“We have a lot more depth, and I’m going to play a lot more guys from the beginning to the end,” Oregon assistant John Neal told GoDucks.com.

During fall camp, Oliver has seen time with the starting defense, and he plans to take advantage of that experience Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene (3 p.m. Pac-12 Network).

“Games are auditions, and we go out there and show exactly what we can and can’t do,” Oliver said. “Coach basically said that whoever starts at the beginning of the game may not finish the game, because it’s all based upon your performance, so my plan is to go out there and play with all my ability and show them exactly what I can do.”

Oregon went 9-4 and 7-2 in the Pac-12 last season, losing to TCU 47-41 in triple overtime in the Alamo Bowl. The Ducks were picked to finish third in the Pac-12 North Division in a preseason media poll.

“I feel like we’ve prepared amazing for (the season opener), and I feel like (defensive coordinator Brady) Hoke has gotten us ready in the right type of way, and coach Neal,” Oliver said. “I feel like I’m prepared to show the coaches exactly what I can do and really just go out there and bring it.”

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @IDS_VarsityX

Idaho ties on FBS rosters

Note: List does not include players at Boise State or Idaho.

Player

High school

College

Year

Pos.

Sam Baldwin

Madison

BYU

Fr.

DB

Taysom Hill

Highland

BYU

Sr.

QB

Hayden Livingston

Rigby

BYU

Fr.

QB

Tanner Mangum

Eagle

BYU

So.

QB

Colby Pearson

Blackfoot

BYU

Sr.

WR

Sully Wiefels

Eagle

Colorado

Sr.

OL

Tristen Hoge

Highland

Notre Dame

So.

OL

Wayne Tei-Kirby

Highland

Oregon

Fr.

DL

Valentino Daltoso

Boise

Oregon

Fr.

OL

Khalil Oliver

Rocky Mountain

Oregon

So.

S

Luke Leonnig

Eagle

Oregon State

Fr.

LB

Eric Cotton

Columbia

Stanford

Sr.

DL

Treyvion Foster

Centennial

Stanford

Sr.

WR

Porter Gustin

Emmett*

USC

So.

DL

Don Hill

Timberline

USC

So.

DL

Dakota Baker

Idaho Falls

Utah

Fr.

WR

Conner Charles

Bishop Kelly

Utah

Fr.

DB

Austin Cheney

Borah

Utah State

Sr.

CB

Logan Lee

Madison

Utah State

Sr.

LB

Jake Templeton

Timberline

Utah State

So.

DL

Matt James

Coeur d’Alene

Washington

So.

OL

Kyler Manu

Highland

Washington

Fr.

LB

Jon Baumgardner

Bishop Kelly

Washington State

Fr.

LB

Zach Charme

Timberline

Washington State

So.

P

Madigan Taulelei

Boise

Washington State

Fr.

RB

Richard Bettencourt

Meridian

Wyoming

So.

OL

*Transferred from Emmett to Salem Hills in Utah after his sophomore year.

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