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September 10, 2013

Ollison felt right at Pitt

Qadree Ollison's last recruiting visit turned out to be the most important one, as the Buffalo (NY) Canisius running back followed up his trip to Pitt last week with a commitment to the Panthers on Monday.

"When I went on my visit there, it just felt like a really good place to be," Ollison told Panther-Lair.com Monday night. "It's a place I could look forward to living for the next four years or potentially the rest of my life.

"And I had a nice relationship with the coaches from early on; that was a major deciding factor."

Ollison was recruited to Pitt by Desmond Robinson, and he also developed a strong connection with head coach Paul Chryst. So when it came time to make his commitment, Ollison placed a call to Robinson.

"I knew [Sunday]," he said. "I thought about it and prayed about it, and that was the choice that I came up with. So I called the coaches [Sunday] night and talked to Coach Robinson and Coach Chryst. They were excited and happy that I committed.

"The coaches at Pitt really care so much about the player as a person rather than just as a player. Education is really important and they have a family-type of atmosphere when you're there. And that's from the University and the city, too, not just the football team."

As a junior in 2012, Ollison rushed for 1,865 yards and 26 touchdowns, and he started his 2013 season in style Friday night with 195 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries. At 6'1" 220, Ollison doesn't look like a typical running back, but he said the Pitt coaches see him in a traditional role and he is confident that he can do it.

"They said they see me as being a tailback, a guy who can play first, second and third down and not just a one-down back," Ollison said. "I've heard people say I'll be a fullback, but I don't pay attention to what other people think. That's their opinion; I know what I'm capable of and I'm confident in my abilities.

"I see myself as an all-around running back. I can power over people and outrun people when I get to the second level."

Ollison picked Pitt over offers from Penn State, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Syracuse, Boston College, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Nevada and Temple. Pitt and Penn State were his top two schools before he opted for the Panthers.

He is the second running back to commit to Pitt in the class of 2014, joining Shady Side Academy's Dennis Briggs, but the coaching staff will look to sign at least one more back from the group of Shai McKenzie, Chris James, Robert Martin and C.J. Leggett.

With Ollison on board, Pitt now has 17 commitments in the class of 2014.

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