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Bryce Oliver is ready for his breakout season

Oliver has a chance to play a significant role in a position of need this season.

Kentucky v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

It’s no secret that the Kentucky Wildcats are going to miss Benny Snell next season. He was arguably the best running back in school history. And his departure leaves big questions for the offense.

However, you don’t have to go too far to find the answer. And that is simply a more balanced attack. The Cats were a run-heavy team the last few years, but this year, that’s going to change.

Yes, AJ Rose and Kavosiey Smoke are dynamic playmakers out of the backfield, but they’re not proven workhorses like Benny was. On the other hand, Terry Wilson projects to improve tremendously from his rookie season, which means UK is going to need some wide-outs to step up.

We all know Lynn Bowden, but there’s another shifty receiver who could be in line for a good share of targets this fall. That person is Bryce Oliver.

Bryce Oliver

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Class: Redshirt Freshman
  • Measurements: 6-1, 211 lbs.
  • Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • School: Dillard
  • Recruit Rankings: No. 1,089 nationally, No. 161 WR via 247Sports Composite Rankings

Oliver is a redshirt freshman out of Eddie Gran’s pipeline in Florida. The former consensus three-star prospect wasn’t highly sought after out of high school, but he’ll be looking to make a name for himself this season.

The former dual-sport athlete also held offers from the Louisville Cardinals, UCF Knights, and Iowa Hawkeyes, among others.

Despite the low-level interest in Oliver, Kentucky liked something and decided to bring him on board. And that move might be paying dividends this fall.

The 6-1 wide receiver starred in the Cats’ spring game, reeling in eight catches for 105 receiving yards and a touchdown. He was relatively unknown by most going into the game, but he certainly propelled himself onto the scene. After the game Coach Stoops described him simply as a “playmaker.”

Oliver didn’t stop there, as he continued to play well in training camp and earned a starting spot on the Week 1 depth chart. He has the size and strength needed to make plays on the outside.

And with so much uncertainty surrounding the receiver positions outside of Bowden, he’ll have a real chance to play significant minutes. Terry Wilson at least seems to think he has the potential to do so.

“Bryce, he’s been looking really good,” Wilson said after UK’s spring game. “He made some big catches out there. Bryce is a really good receiver. I just feel like when he gets around the learning curve and learns more about the game, he’ll be solid.”

Regardless of what anyone else thinks, Oliver definitely isn’t short on confidence.

“I feel like every ball that comes my way is a 50-50 ball, but to me it’s a 100-to-zero ball, ‘cause I’m gonna come down with it,” Oliver said. “That’s just my mentality coming in and out of the game and in and out of practices.”

Hopefully, that confidence will translate into results. The Cats are going to need it. But based on what we’ve seen so far, we might be seeing and hearing a lot more about Oliver in 2019 and beyond.

Watch #85 go work starting around the 2:00 mark.