NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

'The fit was just right': How Edmond Santa Fe linebacker Collin Oliver continued pipeline to OSU

Edmond Santa Fe's Collin Oliver committed to OSU on Friday, becoming the third Wolves defender since 2016 to choose the Cowboys. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
Edmond Santa Fe's Collin Oliver committed to OSU on Friday, becoming the third Wolves defender since 2016 to choose the Cowboys. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

EDMOND — Before every game, Edmond Santa Fe linebacker Collin Oliver pulls up a familiar highlight tape.

Calvin Bundage, donning a Wolves jersey five years ago, delivers crushing hits and impressive athletic plays. He was like a madman let loose.

Oliver’s adrenaline starts to pump with each play.

“Because that dude, he was crazy in high school,” Oliver said. “He had a vicious mentality.”

Oliver has wanted to follow Bundage’s path since middle school. Oliver has became a force at linebacker for Edmond Santa Fe. Now, he’s following Bundage to Oklahoma State.

Oliver committed to OSU on Friday, becoming the third Edmond Santa Fe defender in four years to choose the Cowboys.

Bundage committed on National Signing Day in 2016. OSU’s breakout defensive star Trace Ford committed as his senior season began in 2018.

“I think it’s the connection they have with our coaches, honestly,” Oliver told The Oklahoman. “It’s so weird, though. It’s more of a connection with their coaches and it’s right down the street.”

A highly recruited outside linebacker, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior rapidly developed into a force. Coming off a junior season hampered by injuries, he’s a four-star prospect on 247Sports.com and a three-star recruit on Rivals.com.

Oliver chose the Cowboys over finalists Arkansas, Iowa State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, TCU, Texas Tech and Utah. He announced his final eight on April 3, but he received nearly a handful of scholarship offers afterward, slowing his decision.

“The fit was just right, it’s close to home and they have literally everything I wanted in a school — the program’s successful, great players, great coaches, great atmosphere,” Oliver said. “It’s just a right fit.”

And it continues the Santa Fe-to-Stillwater pipeline.

Bundage was the first domino. He gave instant notoriety to the Cowboys in Edmond. No Wolves defender had remained close to home for a Power 5 program.

Bundage took advantage of that. He often returned to see his former teammates, friends and coaches. He recorded hype videos for his former team.

“These guys are close-knit that come through,” Edmond Santa Fe defensive coordinator Chris Rose said. “Our guys that are there spend time with our kids on the weekends. It didn’t have to do with Oklahoma State as much itself as they loved being where they’re at and our kids bought into that.

“When our kids see that inclusion, that makes them begin to at least investigate what that looks like.”

It also helps that OSU’s Leo position — a hybrid linebacker and defensive pass-rushing spot — is also key in Santa Fe’s scheme. Rose developed it for Ford three seasons ago. Oliver has developed into a star there as well.

Last season, Ford emerged as a star, eventually becoming a starter as a true freshman, in that position. Oliver is expected to play the same position at OSU.

“It utilizes his skills,” Rose said. “It creates mismatches.”

Now, the position is a bridge to Stillwater.

“You can free roam, you can do all that,” Oliver said. “That’s what I loved about it. That’s personally why I think all the defensive players from Santa Fe go to O-State, because most of us are linebackers, defensive ends and we can play both.”

*************************

INSIDE

Five-star receiver Mario Williams commits to OU, Page C2

Jacob Unruh

Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the... Read more ›

Comments