By Mike Meiler
Niagara Gazette —
Canisius junior and Niagara Falls native Qadree Ollison took big steps toward starting his college career this week.
The All-Western New York running back, Gazette player of the year and Connolly Cup nominee earned an invitation to an exclusive Rivals.com showcase camp, presented by Under Armour, and was offered his first Division I scholarship courtesy of the University at Buffalo.
The camp, which takes place April 28 in Pittsburgh, is part of a series of regional showcases for highly sought after college recruits.
Wayne Ollison, Qadree's father, said there are 12 camps across the country, each with 50 participants. The top 15 campers from each location, as decided by the staff, are then invited to a final Under Armour Elite 100 camp, which features Rivals' top 100 prospects from across the nation.
"It's a pretty big deal because you're considered one of the top players in the country just to be invited," Wayne said. "It's kind of like a combine; they test your 40 (yard dash), different drills, some one-on-one things. There's a lot of chances for (Qadree) to raise his stock."
"I'm really excited," Qadree added. "It's an honor to be invited. I can't wait to get out there and compete against the other prospects."
The camp will be an opportunity for Ollison to augment his already rising recruiting profile. The UB offer was officially the first, but it's not likely to be the last; Wayne they've already received general interest letters from schools such as Notre Dame, Ohio State and Louisville.
"Those letters just say that (the schools) realize you're a top prospect, your info has been passed on to the recruiting coordinator in your area, we'll be in touch," Wayne said.
"It's a new process," he added. "There are a lot of rules and sanctions that you have to deal with. ... Right now, schools are in their quiet period until April 15. Anyone can offer right now, but schools can only email you. You can call anyone you want, but they can't call you."
Qadree said his final decision will ultimately be agreed upon by he and his family. He said he's looking for a school that fits his needs and isn't too far away.
"I'm looking for an offensive system that fits me, not just a school for football but a school that has really good academics as well," he said. "Most of the schools I've gotten letters from have good academics. I want to play by my second year, maybe first year, whether offensive, defensive or special teams."
Wayne said the group hopes to come to a decision before Qadree starts his senior season this fall.Follow high school sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.