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Uso Olive: Federal Way Eagles strongman braces for big season | Football
Uso Olive is the strongest player to ever play football at Federal Way High School. Not by just a little bit either. The 6-foot, 306-pound defensive tackle broke the 350-pound Federal Way school record in the bench press as a freshman.
Nowadays, as a senior, the numbers are even more mind-boggling. Olive recently bench pressed 455 pounds and followed that up with a 605-pound squat.
But Olive isn’t just a beast in the weight room. His immense strength transfers perfectly to the middle of the Eagles’ defensive line and Olive has caused havoc to quarterbacks around the South Puget Sound League.
And college recruiters have also taken notice.
Olive got a big surprise two weeks ago when he was down in Oregon checking out the Portland State University campus.
“I was just walking around when coach (Nigel) Burton pulled me into his office and offered me a scholarship,” Olive said. “It wasn’t even an official visit or anything.”
Olive has been in contact with the Portland State coaching staff for a year or so and fell in love with the family atmosphere surrounding the football program.
“The energy of the coaches is great,” he said. “It’s amazing what they got going there. The coaches call it a family and I want to be part of the family.”
There is still a chance that Olive could change his mind if a Division I school offers a scholarship, which is a possibility. Portland State plays in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA). The Vikings play in the Big Sky Conference against schools like Montana, Weber State and Northern Arizona.
“There are some bigger schools out there, but I just wanted to lock a spot,” Olive said. “I wanted somewhere to go.”
Olive liking the family atmosphere at Portland State is not a big surprise. The word family has become increasingly important to him in the last six months.
In February, Olive’s mother, Anna Maria, past away after a long sickness. She suffered from a disease that caused her heart and other organs to grow too big for her body.
“She’s still with me and proud of me,” Olive said. “She made a promise to me to be sitting up there when I sign to my college.”
Olive plans on having a large picture of Anna Maria on the table beside him when he eventually signs his national letter of intent in February.
“The team had my back,” Olive said. “I still walked around the school with a smile on my face. I knew there was something bigger that my mom wanted for me.”
Olive now lives with his cousins in Federal Way and says his mother’s death has given him even more strength to excel on and off the football field.
“This is the most drive I’ve ever had,” Olive said. “It’s given me a purpose. I think about her every time I come to practice. She was at every game, supporting me. When she was sick, she would still come to my games. Nothing was going to stop her.”
Olive is hoping his senior year production is a lot better than what he did last year as a junior. Olive credits a a nearly 50-pound loss of weight during the summer a year ago to his drop in sacks. As a sophomore, Olive dominated offensive lineman from his defensive tackle position and recorded double-digit sacks at nearly 300 pounds.
But Olive wanted to get quicker and have more stamina in the middle of the line, so he undertook a running plan during the summer of 2010 and lost nearly 50 pounds.
“Over the summer, all I did was run,” Olive said. “During my junior year, I was getting pushed around.”
Despite getting “pushed around,” Olive still had a pretty good season for most. He finished with 23.5 tackles and one sack for the Eagles.
This year, Olive is back to 306 pounds and is stronger than ever.
“That’s were I want to play at,” he said. “This is the best I’ve ever felt.”
Olive was also impressive during the summer camp circuit that has become a necessity for the more talented high school football players. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the defensive lineman at the prestigious Northwest Elite Football Camp in Sammamish, which included 365 participants from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.
Olive expects big things from the Federal Way Eagles this season, especially after the team finished with just three wins last year. It was the first time the Eagles have missed qualifying for the postseason after four-straight playoff appearances.
“We are looking great,” Olive said. “We are practicing at a high tempo and our brotherhood is tighter this year. I’m actually more excited for the younger guys, than I am for myself.”
Olive isn’t the only senior on the Federal Way roster getting the attention of college recruiters. Linebacker Jordan Pulu has already given his verbal commitment to play at Washington and running back D.J. May is still undecided.
May also made a huge impression during the spring camp series. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound running back ran a blazing, laser-timed 4.49 in the 40-yard dash at the Nike SPARQ Combine in Oregon. Last season for the Eagles, May finished the season with 1,310 yards on the ground, with 13 touchdowns.
“It’s going to be fun,” Olive said of his senior season.
Time for football
The 2011 high school football season opens Friday night around the South Puget Sound League. All games kick off at 7 p.m.:
• Beamer @ Emerald Ridge,
• Jefferson @ Tahoma
• Federal Way @ G-Kapowsin
• Kennedy @ Decatur