Posted: 6:22 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, 2013
Been a little while since Pitt landed a recruit, but that ended today with the pickup of Buffalo running back Qadree Ollison. He was rated as a three-star recruit by ESPN, Scout, 24/7, and Rivals. Scout ranks him as the nation's 40th best running back and Rivals has him as New York's fifth best player overall and top running back in that state.
You can check out the brief two-minute announcement here, complete with Pitt hat episode and all.
Ollison had a top five, but recently, ESPN's Jared Shanker said it was between Pitt and Penn State. He had plenty of other offers from schools including Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Boston College, and Syracuse.
Interestingly enough, I just wrote about recruits in attendance being unfazed by Pitt's blowout loss to Florida State last weekend and sure enough, Ollison was at that game. He also came for an unofficial visit back in June. On the flipside, he was supposed to attend Penn State's game against Eastern Michigan, but reportedly didn't make it.
It sounds like Ollison had already made up his mind by this quote before his announcement came today:
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Ollison had originally planned to visit Penn State today but after Friday’s game said that he would not be. He visited Pitt on Monday. Asked whether that was something that could be read into, Ollison said, “We’ll just wait until Monday.”
This article seemed to indicate a timing issue, but judging by the quote above, it hardly sounds as if that was the case.
That visit to Pitt could be what sealed it. Ollison was just impressed by the atmosphere:
"That was my first college game that I've been to, and to see so many people there, it was kind of surreal," Ollison told Panther-Lair.com after the visit. "It was a great experience for the first college game I've seen in person. It was cool."
One thing to like about him? Speed, apparently, according to his athletic director:
“I said to someone that for a kid who is as tough and strong as he is, he never gets caught once he gets daylight,” Mauro said.
Ollison had a big night in his high school opener this year, going for 195 yards and four touchdowns. Last season, he had nearly 1,900 yards and 26 scores and if he's able to come close to that again, Pitt fans should be pretty excited come next year.
One thing to watch is that he had interest in other schools that didn't come through with offers including Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Nebraska. You wonder if he has a big season and one comes calling .... /PlugsFingersInEars can't hear you can't hear you can't hear you ...
As this article notes (close your eyes on the photo, though), Penn State's backfield seems a bit more crowded than Pitt's. I wouldn't be surprised if the ability to potentially play a bit sooner played into things. The Panthers are still after some big fish including Shai McKenzie, so things can change. But for right now, the running back spot is a little thin.