Head coach Paul Chryst landed Qadree Ollison earlier this week, snatching the back from other schools including Penn State and WIsconsin. I mentioned in our original post on the running back that potential playing time could be a factor and Ollison confirmed recently that that was indeed the case:
“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.”
My guess is that he could have chosen his words a bit more carefully since he all but downplayed the talents of Isaac Bennett and James Conner, but point taken.
Ollison is correct in that the Pitt backfield is a bit thin right now. Bennett will be back next season, but will be a senior. Conner is showing some promise as freshman, but is hardly a slam dunk to start for the next three seasons. Malcolm Crockett and Rachid Ibrahim are also there, but neither are stars. Simply put, there's plenty of opportunity ... right now.
One thing to keep an eye on is, obviously, what happens with Shai McKenzie. Pitt is still very much in the running for him and if he indeed does pick Pitt, things get significantly more crowded at the top. The Panthers have recruited local running back Dennis Briggs as well and we'll have to see what the Panthers do with the rest of the class.
Ollison is on board and that's a good thing. Still, another back or two could definitely be added along the way.