BUFFALO, NY - Branden Oliver left the University at Buffalo holding nearly every school rushing record. However, there was one thing he wasn't holding when he left - a diploma. Now a standout running back for the San Diego Chargers with a multi-year contract, it was easy to assume Oliver wouldn't finish his degree. However, if you think that was going to happen, you obviously don't know Bo.
Lauded as one of the hardest-working players in program history, Oliver was determined to finish what he had started. The Florida native left UB just two classes shy of earning a bachelor's degree in sociology. Thanks in part to the National Football League's Continuing Education Program, Oliver returned to UB over the spring semester to take the two classes he needed to complete his degree requirements.
Oliver knows he won't play football forever and holding a degree from the University at Buffalo, one of just 62 universities elected to the prestigious Association of American Universities, will prepare him for life after his career concludes.
"I realized how much time I wasted and that we should honor God in every area of our lives and not just in what we desire to do," Oliver said.
Oliver holds the school record for career rushing yards (4,049), single-season rushing yards (1,535) and career 100-yard rushing games (20) to name just a few. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by San Diego in 2014 and led the Chargers in rushing as a rookie with 582 yards and three touchdowns.
Oliver is one of four former UB football players who came back to UB to earn their degrees this past spring.
"It means a lot," Oliver said. "I'm proud that I have finished and have set a standard for my future children, nieces, nephews and others that look up to me."
Oliver has very ambitious goals for his future.
"I would like to build an orphanage and possibly a homeless shelter, own a restaurant and write a book about my journey," Oliver said. "I would also like to travel the country giving speeches and encouraging others about the Holy Bible."
And after seeing how hard Oliver has worked, there is little doubt he will achieve all of his goals on and off the field.