When he starts his rookie season with the NFL playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Josh Oliver will no doubt be looking back on his football career as a Paso Robles Bearcat and San Jose Spartan. A 2015 graduate of Paso Robles High School, Oliver was drafted by the Jaguars in the third round (69th overall) of the 2019 NFL draft.
“It’s my job now, my livelihood, and it’s just a huge blessing to be able to play the game for as long as I have,” Oliver said. “To look back, and then to be where I am now, all I can say is this is such a blessing.”
A two-year starter on the Bearcat varsity football and basketball teams, Oliver, now 22, was a key member of the 2014 CIF Championship football team and played tight end, defensive end and linebacker.
At San Jose State University, he played football all four years while maintaining a GPA of over 3.0. Oliver played in 49 games, with 36 starts, for the Spartans and totaled 98 receptions for 1,067 yards, according to the Jaguar website. His senior season at SJSU had Oliver leading the Spartans with 56 catches for 709 yards and four touchdowns at the tight end position; he received First Team All-Mountain West honors.
When asked what motivated him throughout his younger years to keep improving as an athlete, Oliver didn’t hesitate.
“My dad,” he said. “He has always been my biggest influence. And the support of my family — I would not be where I am today without all of them. I’ve been blessed and I appreciate my upbringing; not too many people have parents like I do who traveled to all my games, paid for my sporting events, and have just always been there for me.”
In addition to his parents, Rene and Barbara, his family includes brothers Jono and Ben. Oliver also points to Coach Spells, a mentor and family friend who mentored the young athlete on his speed work since the age of seven.
And just how is training with the Jaguars different than playing football at PRHS or San Jose State?
“Every step of the way, the game gets more intense,” Oliver said. “In college, the game gets faster, the playbook gets bigger, and the guys are more talented. And then it gets three times that intense once you get to the NFL. It’s all of that and more — the game changes completely.”
Since being drafted, Oliver has been training with the Jaguars, specifically tight end coach Ron Middleton, and getting to know his fellow teammates.
The NFL preseason started on August 8, with the Jacksonville Jaguars facing the Baltimore Ravens, followed by games on the subsequent Thursdays against the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, and Atlanta Falcons (results unavailable at press time).
On Sunday, September 8, the Jaguars will kick off their regular season playing host to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I’m definitely looking forward to being out on the field for the first time in my first NFL game,” Oliver said. “It’s my rookie season and it’s just incredible to be part of all of this. I thank God that I have been blessed with a healthy career and the ability to be out there and go on the field every day and go after the things I always wanted.”
In addition to encouraging everyone to watch the Jaguars in the 2019 NFL season, Oliver had a special message for the hometown crowd, all the way from Jacksonville, Fla. to Paso Robles:
“I just want to thank everyone who has followed my journey up to this point,” he said. “Ever since I was a little kid, there have been a lot of people along my journey, especially my parents, my brothers, and close family friends. I feel so blessed and I just can’t thank everyone enough.”
Follow Oliver on Twitter at @JoshO_3 and find information on the Jacksonville Jaguars, including the 2019 schedule, roster, and more at jaguars.com.