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Standout running back Ollison commits to Pitt

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Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 3:48 p.m.

Pitt secured a verbal commitment Monday from senior running back Qadree Ollison, whose impact has been felt at Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y., since 2011.

During his sophomore season, Ollison (6-foot-1, 226 pounds) replaced an injured teammate in a semifinal playoff game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. In three quarters, he ran for 180 yards, according to Canisius athletic director Jim Mauro.

Ollison last year rushed for 1,865 yards, including a 38-carry, 350-yard effort against rival St. Joseph's.

“I said to someone that for a kid who is as tough and strong as he is, he never gets caught once he gets daylight,” Mauro said.

Ollison, rated a three-star prospect by, opened this season by running for 195 yards in little more than a half in a 42-15 victory over McQuaid Jesuit.

Ollison chose Pitt over scholarship offers from several BCS schools, including Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Boston College, Maryland, Iowa and Temple. He is the 17th player from the Class of 2014 to commit to Pitt and the second running back, joining Dennis Briggs of Shady Side Academy.

• When Pitt plays New Mexico (1-1) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Heinz Field, it will mark the Lobos' first game in the Eastern time zone since a 34-14 loss to North Carolina State in 2002. Pitt coach Paul Chryst downplayed the significance of a western team playing an early-afternoon game two time zones from home. “All those things are real and you have to address them, but it doesn't carry over,” he said. “You have to go play the game.” Chryst traveled east with some success when he was an assistant at Oregon State, but he said the presence of running back Steven Jackson on the team was a bigger factor.

• New Mexico running back Kasey Carrier (5-9, 185) leads the nation in rushing with 345 yards on 61 carries, including 291 in a 42-35 overtime victory against UTEP. The Lobos' passing game is 117th out of 123 Division I schools (172 yards in two games).

• Chryst lists cornerback Lafayette Pitts and wide receiver Tyler Boyd, both starters, as co-kickoff returners on the depth chart. He said he will choose a returner based on the game. Each had three returns against Florida State — Boyd for an average of 23.7 yards and Pitts for 16.0.

• Pitt's game at Duke will begin at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 21 and will be televised by the ACC Network.

— Jerry DiPaola

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