Heisman Trophy 2018: 5 defensive players who could spoil the party

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Offenses have taken over the headlines and major awards in college football, but those that tend to make the College Football Playoff still rely on their defenses.

In 2017, just one player finished inside the top 10 in the Heisman voting from the defensive side, as quarterbacks and running backs filled the other nine spots.

Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma will be moving on after claiming the trophy this season, but maybe 2018 will be the year when a defensive player breaks the glass ceiling and heads to New York City for the ceremony.

If that does happen, here are five to watch to make that trip next December.

1
Ed Oliver
DT Houston

Houston’s Ed Oliver made a name for himself as a freshman in 2016, recording 22 tackles for loss among his 65 tackles. He also had five sacks, defended six passes and forced a pair of fumbles.

Despite having the attention of opposing offenses throughout this year, the defensive tackle still produced, making 69 tackles, 14.5 for loss and 5.5 sacks. He knocked down three more passes from his defensive tackle position, forcing two fumbles and recovering one.

He had his two biggest games in the opener and closer of the regular season, making 11 tackles vs. Arizona and 14 vs. Navy. He had two sacks in the win over the Midshipmen, with nine of those 14 stops being solos.

At 6-3, 290 pounds, Oliver has the prototypical-NFL body and will be a force to reckon with next season.

Houston will head to the Hawai’i Bowl to face Fresno State.

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