By Mike Meiler firstname.lastname@example.org
Niagara Gazette — Canisius running back and Niagara Falls native Qadree Ollison has seen his recruitment heat up in the past few weeks and now holds 11 Division I scholarship offers.
Connecticut and Boston College are the most recent schools to throw their hats into the ring for the 16-year-old, who also has offers from Buffalo, Nevada, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Iowa, Wisconsin, Maryland and Cincinnati.
“It’s really been blowing up these last couple months,” Ollison said. “It happened real fast.
“Right now it’s just really fun. It can be stressful at first, but then its fun. It becomes second nature. Each offer is just as exciting as the last one.”
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound junior has seen interest skyrocket after running a 4.5-second 40-yard dash at a national showcase, and now has visits scheduled with well-known schools Ohio State and Penn State.
“So many of those schools want to do an eye test, see the kid, talk to the kid, make sure he’s the right fit,” said Wayne Ollison, Qadree’s father. “Most schools will take two or three running backs for the 2014 class. Every school that has offered has said he’s one of the top priorities on their list, they have a spot for him, and no one’s pressuring him at this point.”
Ollison has also started to draw interest from big-name Southeastern Conference schools, including Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M, Wayne said.
Ollison said some schools have mentioned using him on the defensive side because of his size, but Wayne said that so far every school he’s talked to is recruiting Ollison as a running back.
“The Big Ten specifically likes big running backs,” said Wayne, citing recently drafted Montee Ball of Wisconsin and Le’veon Bell of Michigan State. “Qadree will play safety for Canisius, and he’s asked to do a little more work on returns, but no one has said that they plan on using him as a defensive player, special teams player or wide receiver or something like that.”
Ollison has maintained that he’d like to make a decision before his senior season at Canisius. He said it will be a family decision, and they’ll consider factors such as potential playing time and distance from home.
For now, he’ll simply enjoy the process.
“He’s done all the work,” Wayne said. “He’s committed. He accepted the challenge to go to Canisius, which was a very tough academic school. As a junior, to see all of the fruits of his labor coming to fruition, it’s a great feeling.”Follow Gazette sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.