Niagara Gazette — Running back Qadree Ollison, a Niagara Falls native and 2013-14 senior at Canisius High School, has narrowed his list of college suitors to five, according to an email sent out by the school on Monday.
Ollison — ranked as a three-star prospect by most recruiting services — listed Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse and Wisconsin as hits top five schools, without ranking them against each other. He had received 15 scholarship offers prior to Monday, and all but ruled out the University of Buffalo, Connecticut, Temple, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Cincinnati and Boston College.
"I visited four of those five places, and (the list is) based on how I felt going there and my relationship with the coaches," Ollison said.
The initial plan was to trim the list to four schools, Ollison said, until Penn State made a relatively late scholarship offer June 18.
"I didn't really expect Penn State to offer, even though I was in contact with them," Ollison said.
The Nittany Lions face postseason sanctions and scholarship reductions through the 2015 season, handed down by the NCAA after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. But first-year head coach Bill O'Brien — the former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots — managed to lead the team to an 8-4 record in 2012, even after the player transfers that resulted from the sanctions.
Penn State also boasts a few local ties, as Ollison wrote in a brief explanation attached to the email. Canisius alumnus John Urschel is a senior captain, playing guard, while freshman running back Akeel Lynch played for rival St. Francis.
For Pittsburgh, Ollison cited the school's facilities, which are shared with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Panthers also have a history of producing strong running backs, including a foursome of current NFLers in LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia), Dion Lewis (Philadelphia), LaRod Stephens-Howling (Arizona) and Dion Lewis. He also noted the glut of offensive linemen on the roster, the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the coaching staff's ties to Wisconsin, a program with a similar reputation.