Niagara Gazette

Sports

September 11, 2013

Canisius RB Ollison verbally commits to Pittsburgh

Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — Canisius High School running back Qadree Ollison made his collegiate decision Monday at a ceremony at the high school.

The Niagara Falls native will remain in Canisius’ blue and gold next fall, only it’ll be for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, members of the Division I Atlantic Coast Conference.

Ollison had announced a final list of schools consisting of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Wisconsin, Syracuse and Rutgers on June 24, but recently had narrowed his choices down to Pitt and Penn State, according to his father, Wayne Ollison, and coach, Rich Robbins.

Both Wayne and Qadree Ollison took official visits to the two schools, watching Pitt host No. 11 Florida State on Sept. 2 at Heinz Field in a nationally-televised game before catching Penn State drub Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

It was Ollison’s second trip to Pitt, and he said it was the key point in his recruitment.

“When I first went down there, I didn’t have a feel for it really,” Ollison said. “I didn’t get a chance to see the real city.

“On the second time down, I got to tour the city a little more. ... It just felt like home.”

“They made him a top recruit on their board right from the beginning,” added Robbins, a Pittsburgh native. “Throughout the process, they’ve been really loyal.”

The Panthers share facilities with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Their coach, Paul Chryst, is in his second season after being hired away from Wisconsin, where he served as offensive coordinator from 2005-11. Chryst’s Wisconsin teams were ranked in the top 20 nationally in rushing each of his final five seasons.

“They run a pro-style offense, some two-back sets,” Ollison said. “They don’t have a dominant running back in there right now, which gives me the opportunity to come in and compete for a job early.”

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