Football player by morning, skeet shooter by afternoon.
That’s the current day-to-day life for Jake Oliver, a Conyers native who spends his mornings practicing with the Ola football team in McDonough before transitioning to the world of skeet shooting in the afternoons, something he’s begun to make a name for.
Oliver first made his bones shooting modified traps for the Henry County 4-H when he was in the eighth grade. A year later, he started playing football when he was a freshman in high school at Strong Rock Christian.
Pushed by his mother and father to try out shooting, they were shocked when Oliver found instant success. His first time out shooting, he broke 6-7 targets in a row.
Oliver did three years of 4-H shooting traps before he was introduced to skeet shooting. At that point, Oliver was already breaking 97 out of 100 targets in traps.
Finding a much stronger passion for shooting skeet, Oliver’s trajectory in the sport skyrocketed. Roughly four years later, Oliver is now competing in tournaments and is winning on a regular basis.
In early June, Oliver competed at the Scholastic Clays Target Program State Tournament in Savannah and placed fifth out of roughly 350 competitors.
More recently, Oliver dominated the 2020 Georgia State Skeet Association shoot. He was juniors double champion in 28 gage while also taking first in highest overall for his class, as well as first in doubles for his class. He also turned in a second-place finish in 12 gage.
Due to his recent success, Oliver will now get to represent Georgia as one of the Top 5 skeet shooters in the state at the 2020 SCTP National Tournament in Marengo, Ohio later this month.
According to his mother Dana, 5,200 kids from 28 different states are currently registered for the national tournament.
Oliver said he still finds it hard to believe that he has taken his shooting skills this far.
“I thought it was something that I was going to do for four years and be done,” Oliver said. “I didn’t know that it was going to go this far. It’s kind of surreal. It’s something that I didn’t really imagine happening.”
When Oliver, a 6-foot-8 nose guard, isn’t practicing with Ola, he’s practicing skeet shooting. He currently attends two different gun clubs, the Griffin Gun Club and the South River Gun Club in Covington.
He also works with a personal coach based out of Conyers, Dr. Jim Lindell, who also serves as a chiropractor.
“He taught me a lot of the things that I know now,” Oliver said. “He also keeps me in shape athletically and physically. He’s a chiropractor, so he teaches me about foot positions, body mechanics and how the body rotates and how we can use that to our advantage in shooting. It all works together and we get good scores out of it.”
With one year of high school football left, Oliver isn’t sure which path he wants to go down in regards to college. He expects to have an opportunity to choose between the two sports depending on the right situation.
He has currently been contacted by Montreat College in North Carolina, as well as Emmanuel College in Elberton, Georgia for skeet shooting. A school in Nebraska has also expressed interest.
But standing at 6-foot-8, a football scholarship for Oliver will likely soon come.
Regardless of which path Oliver elects to take, the possibility of representing the United States at the Olympics is in the back of his mind. It’s something he thinks is a real possibility.
“I want to get there and I’m pretty sure I can get there,” Oliver said. “It’s just a matter of how much time you can put into it and how hard you’re willing to work to get there.”
Oliver is currently a clay targets athlete on the Georgia Storm shooting team.
The SCTP National Tournament is currently scheduled for July 11-18 in Ohio.