“I decided to come back for several reasons,” Oliver said in a statement released after he met with Coach Mark Richt. “I’m close to graduation, and that’s important to me. I think we have some good momentum, and I’m excited about the team we could have next season. And I hope to perform better and improve as a player.”
Oliver, a graduate of Harrison High School, was Georgia’s fifth-leading tackler this season with 57 and also had three interceptions. He explored entering this year’s NFL Draft after a performance in which he held Georgia Tech All-America wide receiver Calvin Johnson to just two catches for 13 yards in the final regular season game of the year.
Oliver sent paperwork to the NFL’s underclassmen advisory committee to determine his potential draft status but eventually decided to stay. Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc., suggested last week that Oliver could be a first round draft pick in 2008.
“I’m excited he’s decided to return,” Richt said. “In the final analysis, it was important both to him and his mother that he complete his degree and graduate. Certainly, he’ll be counted on as one of our senior leaders, and I’m sure he’ll respond.”
Oliver led Georgia with nine tackles in last week’s 31-24 win over No. 14 Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
On Monday, defensive end Charles Johnson and running back Danny Ware announced they each were skipping their final year of eligibility and entering this year’s draft.