Pitt’s Qadree Ollison picked in the 5th round by Falcons | TribLIVE.com
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Jerry DiPaola

Pitt running back Qadree Ollison waited a bit more than two hours Saturday, but he finally heard his name called in the fifth round of the NFL Draft when he was picked 152nd overall by the Atlanta Falcons.

Ollison is the second Pitt running back drafted in the past three years, joining the Steelers’ James Conner, a third-round pick in 2017.

Ollison replaced Conner, who missed the 2015 season with a knee injury, and ran for 1,121 yards that year and was named ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year.

He finished his collegiate career with 2,859 yards, seventh all-time at Pitt, after leading the team last season with 1,213.

Entering the draft, the Falcons were in the market for a running back to back up Devonta Freeman after losing Tevin Coleman in free agency.

“The Falcons are getting a great back and person in Qadree,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Production-wise, he is one of the best ever to carry the ball at Pitt, with two 1,000-yard seasons. He also got it done for us on special teams.

“Most importantly, Qadree was a vital leader for us, on and off the field. We wish him the very best in Atlanta.”

After he received the good news from the Falcons, with owner Arthur Blank calling him personally, Ollison spoke glowingly about his love for the game of football.

“I’ve played this sports since I could walk,” he said on a video tweet from the Pitt football account. “This is something I’m 110 percent dedicated to. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a real long time.”

He also didn’t forget how he got to the fifth round of the draft.

“I love Pittsburgh. I love everybody there,” he said. “Coach Narduzzi and coach (Andre) Powell (running backs coach) did so much for me. I tell people all the time, Pitt made me into the kind of player I am right now.”

Five other Pitt players got calls from the NFL after the draft.

• Running back Darrin Hall, another 1,000-yard rusher, agreed to stay in his home state and join the Cleveland Browns. Hall is a native of Youngstown.

• Fullback George Aston agreed to join Denver Broncos.

• Linebacker Elijah Zeise of North Allegheny agreed to terms with the San Diego Chargers.

• Offensive lineman Alex Bookser of Mt. Lebanon will attend the San Francisco 49ers’ minicamp, starting Thursday. He also has been invited to the Detroit Lions’ minicamp May 9.

• Defensive end James Folston will sign with the Arizona Cardinals.

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