Ed Oliver won't play in Houston's bowl game

Nick Bromberg
Houston’s Ed Oliver has been one of the most dominant defensive players over the past three seasons. (AP)
Houston’s Ed Oliver has been one of the most dominant defensive players over the past three seasons. (AP)

Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver’s college football career is over.

The star defender is skipping the Cougars’ bowl game and heading to the NFL. The news that Oliver is heading to the NFL is no surprise; he announced before the season that he was leaving Houston after 2018.

When I first set foot on campus, I knew one day I would be leaving the University of Houston football program so that I could realize a dream of playing at the next level. Well today is that day. After serious consideration, I have decided to not play in the 2018 bowl game so that I can immediately begin training for the upcoming draft. Thanks to the University of Houston, the entire coaching staff and my teammates for their 100% support — it means a lot to me. To all the fans, thank you for your relentless support. Forever I will be a Coog! Go Coogs!

Oliver is projected to be a high first-round pick in the draft. He missed part of the 2018 season because of a knee injury and infamously squabbled with his coach Major Applewhite after wearing a jacket designated for active players while on the sidelines earlier this month.

Applewhite and Oliver issued a joint statement after the jacket kerfuffle and said they were moving forward together.

Oliver was incredibly productive when he did play. He had 54 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss in eight games. His per game statistics were up from 2017 when he had 73 tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss in all 12 of Houston’s games.

His arrival at Houston was a watershed moment for the program in 2016. Oliver, a five-star prospect and the No. 3 prospect in Texas, committed to play for the Cougars under coach Tom Herman. The Cougars had gone 13-1 in 2015 and beat Florida State in the Peach Bowl.

Iowa TE Noah Fant skipping Hawkeyes’ bowl game

Iowa tight end Noah Fant also said that he’s going pro and won’t play in Iowa’s bowl.

The junior tight end had 39 catches for 518 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018. He could end up being the top tight end in the 2019 draft. His coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement that he was “disappointed” Fant had chosen to get ready for the draft instead of play in the bowl game and potentially risk an injury.

“We are disappointed Noah will not be finishing the season with his teammates,” Ferentz said. “He is a tremendous athlete and we wish him the best as he pursues his goal of playing in the NFL.”

While Fant’s coach may be disappointed, it’s hard to criticize him from this point of view. Just look at Michigan tight end Jake Butt, who suffered a serious knee injury while playing in the Wolverines’ bowl game in 2016.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.