Oliver declares for NFL draft

One of the anchors of Indiana’s defense is ready for his next challenge.

Linebacker Marcus Oliver announced Friday that he will declare for the 2017 NFL Draft after another standout season for the Hoosiers.

“I’ve learned that playing college football is most importantly an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Oliver said. “I am ecstatic to continue this opportunity and declare myself eligible for the National Football League. I know that with the support of my Hoosier family I am destined to succeed. I am excited about this next step in my life and can’t wait to see what the future holds for myself and for my Indiana teammates.”

Oliver, an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection for the second consecutive season, finishes his college career having assisted on 13 takeaways with a school record 12 forced fumbles. After becoming the first IU player in six years to record 100 tackles during the 2015 season, Oliver finished his redshirt junior year with 96 stops.

He didn’t play in last month’s Foster Farms Bowl loss to Utah due to a nagging injury, IU coach Tom Allen said after the game. Oliver, who was 13th in the Big Ten with 8.0 tackles per game, surely would have surpassed the 100-tackle mark had he played in the finale.

In addition to his production, Indiana will miss Oliver’s leadership in the new year. Oliver was a team captain in 2015 and served as a game captain in all 12 regular season games in 2016.

When Allen arrived as IU’s defensive coordinator last winter, Oliver was one of the players he challenged most. Oliver responded with another strong season, finishing with 15.5 tackles for loss and a combined 22 tackles between his final two games against Michigan and Purdue.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to play for and be a part of the Indiana Hoosier family,” Oliver said in a statement. “The relationships, friendships and memories that were made over the last four years will forever be priceless, and the gift of being a part of this great community for the rest of my life will forever be a blessing and something I am thankful for. I would like to thank all of the faithful Hoosier fans that cheered us on throughout the years and (former coach Kevin) Wilson, coach Allen and (linebackers coach William) Inge for coaching me to be the best.”

Oliver may not be the only IU linebacker to take the leap to the NFL.

Junior Tegray Scales could also declare for the draft after an All-American season that saw him lead the Big Ten with 126 tackles. Oliver’s departure opens a door to more playing time for Chris Covington and Dameon Willis, who started for Oliver in last month’s bowl.


  1. Since Oliver was a red-shirt Junior with four years in the program, he should definitely go pro. We’ll miss him next season, but hopefully he’ll be another IU player in the NFL, which will continue to build the football program’s image and enhance recruiting.

  2. I was hoping the guys would come back to be part of something big next year but if he has been given good advice about going in the in the first 4 rounds of the draft. It is always a risk leaving school to go into the NFL but one that has a big pay off if you make it. Oliver has spent four years at IU but he will be missed in 2017.

  3. Congratulation to Marcus Oliver and Devine Redding, wishing you the best of luck in the NFL…the IU football team will really miss two great leaders (young man) on and off the field. hope you both have big payoffs in the NFL.

  4. Hate to see him go but we can more easily recover with losing him than we can Tegray. His #’s of TFL and FF will be picked up by the rest of the D having another year of experience and the influence of Allen’s coaching style. For IUFB in 2017 the D is brighter than anytime in the history from the view my fan seat.

  5. okay IU fans please advise me anything about recruiting at the moment??? IU football just moved into last place in recruiting in the BIG 10. IU is officially offering a 2017 scholarship to a 2* QB recruit?? WOW!! are the two QB’s currently on the roster that bad?? are is the best recruiting this staff can achieve?? do not hand me that old advantage that this staff has not had time to recruit. PJ Fleck just name the head coach at Minnesota University, takes at least 6 recruits with him from Western Michigan. Everyone is quick to point out that QB Nat Sudfeld came to IU because of Seth Littrell being hired at IU. Has any recruits consider following Mike Debord or Grant Heard to IU?? Signing day is least than a month away and we have only added 2 recruits (LB- Demorreal Burnam, punter-Haydon Whitehead???) and possibly lost 1 recruit. With a couple of players (Isaac Griffith and Marqui Hawkins) leaving the program and now a couple of players declaring for the NFL draft we have more scholarships available and a more pressing need to fill these positions.

  6. JJ Watt was a two star recruit coming out of high school as was #1 overall 2013 draft pick OT Eric Fisher. In fact, in that draft there were 3 former ‘2 star’ recruits and one unranked recruit in the first round which coincidentally was the same as the total number of ‘5 star’ recruits picked in the first round (one of whom was the last player picked in that round).

    That’s consistent with most NFL drafts over the past decade. Far more 3 and four star recruits end up being first round draft picks than 5 star recruits…according to the NFL statistics.

    It’s not about the stars.

  7. IU79, did you expect Wilson’s termination to improve recruiting? Or is it just that you expected this new coaching staff to magically pull in kids that had never considered IU before? Here is the key fact that affects IU’s ability to recruit/sign better talent: IU has not had a winning season in many years. 6 – 7 with two close bowl game defeats is not going to suddenly allow IU to compete with the major programs for 4 and 5-star players.

    As I’ve expressed before, when you go to U T game in Knoxville, you see about 95,000 very enthusiastic fans in the stadium. When you go to an IU game in Bloomington, even against a good in-conference team, you’re lucky to be amongst 43,000 people in the stadium. And half of those folks will leave at half time and not return to their seats. So if you’re an 18 year old, four-star recruit, where would you be excited to play football?

    IU is going to have to produce some winning seasons before it can expect to significantly improve recruiting. And filling all the seats in Memorial Stadium once in a while will help us do that.

  8. Chet, don’t get me wrong….i realize that there is the occasional 2* and 3* athlete that develops into a top NFL caliber player, but you do not see any football program with a majority of 2*athlete being competitive. Any competitive football program needs a majority of 3* athlete, with the occasional 4* or 5* athlete.
    Podunker, no, i did not expect the recruiting to improve, but most of the fan base on this site advise that we needed to wait and that recruiting would improve…personally i did not see this happening with the depart of Kevin Wilson. But, some fans on this blog are convince that IU football team was not improving under Wilson and that we needed a coaching change. an a change would lead to a more winning season and better recruits. yes, i know be patience let see what happens next year and the year after. all i am doing is pointing out that if we do not get a good and plentiful recruiting class, this year or the next year the IU football program will take a major step backward, regardless of how much LEO is put on the drawing board.

  9. The earth spinning on it’s axis while seasons come and go. What would make one think that the next 50 years will be much different than the last 50?

  10. IU79, I don’t think anyone expects IU to improve with a ‘majority’ of two star recruits. You were talking about one guy. I’m guessing you could probably piece together a pretty good team if you picked seniors across the country that were 2 star guys when they were recruited.

    Don’t get caught up on stars. One of our best receivers was a walk on. If IU wins more games they’ll get more 4 star guys. That’s kind the whole deal. We can wish and hope for these guys but they aren’t turning down FSU or Clemson to come to Bloomington after a 6-7 season. I think CKW improved things but not to the point that 5 star players are gonna be Hoosiers with any regularity.

    Players (and other human beings) change a lot between 18 and 22 years of age. Great recruiters have a feel for the physical (and mental) potential of these young men. Alabama and Ohio State pretty much pick who they want. More schools are like Indiana than like Alabama. They have to find the guys who will become great players, not the ones who look like NFL prospects at 17 (unless we’re talking about Marcelino Ball).

    I’m betting Coach Peterson didn’t have many 5 star guys on his Boise State teams but they were pretty good.

  11. thanks Chet, like your response and agree to a great deal…but i am still caught up in the stars (IU needs (hoping they get some, esp on the offensive recruits) those 3* recruits or better that fit into the program)!! I realize that Ohio State and Alabama (blue bloods) and some other programs, will pretty much have their choice of recruits. while the other college football programs, have to find the recruits that have enough talent (physical and mental) and fits into the football program they are trying to have.

  12. Has IU football ever recruited even one 5 star recruit in the history of the program since the invention of stars out of high school?

  13. IU79, right now most of the class are 3 star players with very good talent and motors. Yes it would be nice to get 4 or 5 star players but not until IU starts winning games against the best teams in the B1G East. The key to recruiting is finding players that fit the offense or defense.

  14. v13 – you are correct “MOST” of the 2017 recruiting class is 3* players. I can accept this, the problem I have is that 247 sports ranks the IU recruiting class dead last in the BIG 10. Granted the bottom three (Minnesota, Purdue and Indiana) are only separated by small numerical amount. i am not saying that Indiana has to get 4* and 5* athlete, just saying it would be nice to have some of those type of athlete. I am just disappointed that IU recruiting class is “LAST” in the BIG 10 and as a IU fan I do not see any upward mobility with less than a month left before signing day. an with a program as fragile as IU football program it only takes one or two recruiting class to put IU football back in the cellar. so as so many IU fans has express on this blog. “let raise the football expectation under this new coach”

  15. I think for 2017 we’re digressing a little or staying neutral in the * category resulting in no discerning difference. The fact is the bottom 6 B1G programs ahead of IU, 4 simply have at this time more 3* commits than IU. The other 2, Wisky has 1-4* and the Hawkeyes show 1-5* and multiple 3*. IU wil take 22-24 commits, maybe more depending how many players will not return. In this present timeline it is simply a #’s snapshot and looking at the bottom 7 programs only 2 are affected by the rating of the * and IU has more openings available to add commits. Looking over the IU commits I really like and see the fit for 14. Of the other 3 there are 2 I think are long term keepers and 1 I really can’t find much info on. It looks like to me it will end up a middling of our past 4 maybe 5 classes offering several whose names will be heard making plays on Saturdays. I’ll take that because losing Wilson and 2 staff very well could have made several more negative recruiting gets or targets happen.

  16. IU79, yes it is a bit disheartening to see IU recruiting class rated so low in the B1G but we have a number of scholarships to fill yet. We have no idea how many players are leaning to IU until they actually commit. I would love to see Potts commit but he is still uncommitted. Rafdal still has IU as one of the schools and I hope he returns to an IU commit especially because the new offense will use TEs as pass catchers and not just a third Tackle.

    The coaches are out there pushing hard to get recruits committed to IU and I hope we see results of that on signing day. The real measure for our coaches in recruiting is in 2018 when they have time to build relationships with high school coaches and players.

    If it were me, I would be hitting Florida and Texas to find players that didn’t get major colleges recruiting them. There are a lot of talented players in those two states that get over looked and IU could make up some ground finding those talented players.

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