Whatever the Douglas County football team needed, it seems Braelen Oliver could provide it.
He was the catalyst for the team on defense with his 164 tackles, but he also made plays on offense and special teams.
Oliver main position was linebacker, but he played some on offense at running back and was a threat on special teams.
He was a big reason the Tigers went 10-2 and finished as Region 5-AAAAAA runner-up and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
After the season, he was named the player of the year.
“It was unanimous from the coaches,” Tigers coach Johnny White said. “He just earned a lot of respect from his team and from our opponents.”
Oliver signed with Minnesota on last week to play football.
Here is a closer look at Oliver, who is the Douglas County Sentinel Defensive Player of the Year:
Why Oliver: He had 164 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss with five sacks. The senior also had five interceptions, six pass deflections and one forced fumbles. He had two defensive touchdowns and a special teams score. He had 567 yards of offense with five touchdowns.
Who else was considered?: Alexander quarterback Mason Wood.
Favorite aspect of competing?: “The rush of its all in going out and giving it your all and having fun. My older brother taught me about competing because I would always play with the older boys growing up.”
Most challenging part of being a linebacker?: “Calling all the plays and making sure everybody is in the right spot. I was sort of the quarterback of the defense. The biggest thing is getting away from the bigger linemen to make plays.”
Who is your inspiration?: “My older brother (Brandon) and my family. They are always on top of things and make sure I’m doing the right things. They are the first ones after the game to be honest with me and let me know when I’m not doing something right.”
What was the most challenging part of the season?: “It had to be the Alpharetta game when I had to play almost both ways for four quarters. We didn’t win, but no one is perfect.”
How did you improve this season?: “I watched a lot of film and tried to be prepared for every game. I worked a lot on tackling during practice and it paid off in the game. I think I worked a lot harder from last year to this season.”
When did you realize you would have a good season?: “After the Northgate game I felt the team and myself were heading in the right direction. We were hitting on all cylinders and I had something like 22 tackles.”
What could you have done better?: “I probably could have been a little more vocal. I felt I could have maybe pushed myself more.”
Best player you played against?: “It has to be Christian Royalston from Langston Hughes. He is very quick and make a lot of plays. I think I missed the most tackles on the season against him.”
What coach Johnny White says: “He is one of the best athletes that I’ve ever coached. He stepped up into the leadership role on both sides of the ball. Minnesota definitely got a steal in him.”